Warriors vs. Blazers: What to Watch in Conference Finals

With the Portland Trailblazers overcoming a big deficit to stun the Denver Nuggets Sunday night, a Western Conference Finals matchup is confirmed.

The matchup will pair the champs against Oakland-native Damian Lillard, who will most certainly be ready to play his hometown Warriors in their last year in Oakland.

Golden State will enter the series overwhelming favorites, but, as has been the case all year, are not immune to complacency.

Here are the biggest things to watch heading into the series.

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Projected starting lineups

Warriors

F Andre Iguodala

F Draymond Green

C Andrew Bogut

G Klay Thompson

G Stephen Curry

Blazers

F Al-Farouq Aminu

F Maurice Harkless

C Enes Kanter

G Damian Lillard

G CJ McCollum

Golden State will be without Kevin Durant for at least the first two games of the series with a calf injury. DeMarcus Cousins could also make his return from a torn quad in this series if he continues to progress in his rehab.

Still, the Warriors have the healthy Splash Brother duo of Curry and Thompson, who single-handily shot the Warriors out of the second round Friday evening.

The Warriors will have their hands full with Portland’s backcourt of Lillard and McCullum, who helped the Blazers overcome a 17-point deficit Sunday afternoon to reach the conference finals. Lillard has been particularly good against the Warriors this season, averaging 28.3 points and 6.5 assists in matchups.

Edge: Warriors

Bench

Like the Warriors, the Blazers have struggled to get contributions from its second unit this season, finishing the regular season 21st in bench scoring.

However, the postseason has seen the resurgence of Rodney Hood, who is averaging 10 points on 50 percent from the field.

Still, with the Warriors non-existant second unit, the Warriors could have their hands full.

Edge: Trailblazers.

Coaching

Terry Stots has guided the Blazers to six straight playoff berths, including a third place Western Conference finish this season. Under Stotts’ tutelage, Lillard and McCullum have developed into bonafide stars.

However, Steve Kerr has presided over the best six-year run in NBA history and is on pace to win his fourth championship in five years.

Edge: Warriors

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Warriors-Western-Conference-Finals-Opponent-509824891.html.

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