The Warriors conclude round one of the first playoff series with a sweep of the Portland Trailblazers. Golden State played games three and four without coach Steve Kerr, who has been experiencing a flare-up of symptoms stemming from the back surgery he underwent two years ago. Assistant coach Mike Brown has served as head coach in Kerr’s absence and has stepped up in a big way.
Kevin Durant only played two of the four games versus Portland because of a strained left calf. Additionally, the Warriors were still without Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain), and Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain) for the remainder of the series.
On Monday night, Durant started and the Warriors built a 72-48 lead by the half. Golden State pushed the margin to 33 points in the second half. Curry swished a 31-foot 3-pointer that made it 104-77 late in the third quarter and the Blazers couldn’t catch up. All of Golden State’s starters scored double digits.
The Warriors advance to the conference semifinals, where they’ll face the winner of the series between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers. Because the Dubs were able to close the series out in four and depending on how long the Jazz Clippers go, the Warriors will get almost a week of no stress and be able to rest the entire team.
And, despite being a super team, the Warriors losing their coach at this point of the season will have an impact. But, the Warriors have veteran playoff experience. The one thing that the Warriors know is there is always some kind of adversity in every playoff run.
Last year, Steph Curry experienced an injury and Draymond Green was suspended for two games, which impacted them at the worst possible time. Losing Kerr at this juncture will be a test for the Warriors. However, Green and the rest of the team put their support behind Mike Brown and have showed confidence in him going forward.
The entire fanbase extends their best wishes to Coach Steve Kerr. We know he would be on the bench coaching if he could. All of us wish him a safe and speedy recovery.
- Steve Kerr photo: Ketih Allison – posted to Flickr as Steve Kerr
- Matt Barnes photo on flickr by LWYang
- Kevin Durant photo from KevinDurant.com
- Shaun Livingston on flickr by Keith Allison
- Moda Center image on Wikimedia Commons by Another Believer
- Derrick Favors on flickr by Philadelphia 76ers
- Draymond Green posted on flickr by Ketih Allison
- Steph Curry on flickr by Ketih Allison