The Golden State warriors march into the championship season with only one goal: to win their second NBA title in three years. On Sunday, the Warriors will open their postseason campaign against the upset-minded Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

What’s at stake?

The Warriors have everything to lose, while the Blazers have none. Golden State instantly skyrocketed to the top of the power rankings after coming through with the biggest free-agency acquisition in the offseason. Kevin Durant left his buddy Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for a chance of winning his first ever NBA championship ring with reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in Bay Area.

Despite facing heavy criticisms from fans and media, and a knee injury that sidelined Durant for over a month, the Warriors still finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA at 67-15. Former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy believe Golden State is the runaway favorite to win the NBA championship because of their sheer firepower along with excellent team defense.

“It would be a great time-saver if we just gave (the Warriors) the trophy now,” Van Gundy said during a podcast session with ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “The playoffs are over — we just don’t know it yet. I mean, we haven’t seen the results, but if they avoid an incident this year and they are healthy, the playoffs are over.

The Warriors are sure the overwhelming favorites this postseason, but Damian Lillard and company have a different plan on their minds. The Blazers barely secured the no.8 seed in the West, but they have been balling well the last two weeks with the major back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs and the Utah Jazz. If there is a backcourt combo that can match up well with Curry and Thompson, then it would be Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined for 50 points per contest.

Players to Watch:

Warriors: Curry and Thompson have been smoking hot over the last three weeks, but there’s no doubt the man of the moment for Golden State is Durant. Fresh from a one-month layoff, Durant scored 16, 16, and 29 points in his last three games. He seems moving just fine, though his 5-for-16 shooting from the 3-point line raises some eyebrows.

Blazers: Lillard has been nothing short but explosive towards the homestretch mark of the season. In the all-important game against the Utah Jazz on April 8, Lillard dropped a new career-high 59 points to virtually seal the last playoff berth in the West. Against the Warriors, the Blazers guard would need to replicate such feat for four to six games for his team to have a fighting chance.


The Warriors-Blazers series will be an entertaining best-of-seven match-up, not because Portland has a real chance of upsetting Golden State but the mere possibility of Lillard breaking Michael Jordan’s playoff record of 63 points is there. Other than that, consider this series all but done. Warriors in five games.