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Western Conference 1st Round: (5) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (1) Golden State Warriors
Regular Season Series: Warriors won 3-1
Playoff Series: 0-0 (1st game is Sunday at 3:30pm)
Probable Starting Lineups:
Portland Trail Blazers:
C – Mason Plumlee: 9.1ppg (51.6% FG/64.2% FT), 7.7rpg, 2.8apg
F – Al-Farouq Aminu: 10.2ppg (41.6%/36.1% 3FG/73.7% FT), 6.1rpg, 1.7apg
F – Maurice Harkless: 6.4ppg (47.4% FG/27.9% 3FG/62.2% FT), 3.6rpg, 0.9apg
SG – C.J. McCollum: 20.8ppg (44.8% FG/41.7% 3FG/82.7% FT), 3.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg
PG – Damian Lillard: 25.1ppg (41.9% FG/37.5% 3FG/89.2% FT), 4.0rpg, 6.8apg
Key Bench Players – Noah Vonleh (3.6ppg, 3.9rpg), Ed Davis (6.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 61.1% FG), Gerald Henderson (8.7ppg), Allen Crabbe (10.3ppg, 39.4% 3FG)
Golden State Warriors:
C – Andrew Bogut: 5.4ppg (62.7% FG/48.0% FT), 7.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6bpg
PF – Draymond Green: 14.0ppg (49.0% FG/38.8% 3FG/69.6% FT), 9.5rpg, 7.4apg, 1.5spg, 1.4bpg
SF – Harrison Barnes: 11.7ppg (46.6% FG/38.3% 3FG/76.1% FT), 4.9rpg, 1.8apg
SG – Klay Thompson: 22.1ppg (47.0% FG/42.5% 3FG/87.3% FT), 3.8rpg, 2.1apg
PG – Shaun Livingston: 6.3ppg (53.6% FG/86.0% FT), 2.2rpg, 3.0apg
MVP – Stephen Curry: 30.1ppg (50.4% FG/45.4% 3FG/90.8% FT), 5.4rpg, 6.7apg, 2.1spg
Key Bench Players – Andre Iguodala (7.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.4apg), Marreese Speights (7.1ppg, 38.7% 3FG), Ian Clark (3.6ppg), Leandro Barbosa (6.4ppg)
What To Expect:
The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the few playoff teams that beat the Golden State Warriors this year, so with Stephen Curry’s status up in the air there is a chance the Trail Blazers make this a very interesting series.
So does that mean that Noah Vonleh will have zero chance of playing any meaningful minutes in this series? Surprisingly I think there is a realistic chance he does play.
As with the Los Angeles Clippers series, there is a potential scenario that may provide Vonleh with an opportunity to play. Chris Kaman was the reserve center in the last series but I don’t think he can keep up with small-ball centers such as Draymond Green and Marreese Speights. Vonleh is much more athletic and is quick enough to guard both.
But before you pencil in Vonleh for eight minutes per game, know that there’s another solution that is just as likely. If Coach Terry Stotts still thinks Vonleh isn’t ready for such a big responsibility he may instead just shorten his rotation and stagger his post players’ minutes so that either Mason Plumlee or Ed Davis is always on the court.
Just like last series it may come down to a first impression. I could see Stotts giving Vonleh a chance during game one and if he likes what he sees he’ll continue to have Vonleh come off the bench. If he doesn’t, Vonleh will be glued to the bench for the rest of the series.
Stat Predictions: 0.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 33% FG, 3.8mpg