On the night he was awarded the first-ever unanimous MVP award, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry held back a late Portland Trail Blazers assault to win the series in Game 5 of the Western conference semis, 125-121, in arguably the most entertaining game of the playoffs this year.
It was the Warriors’ Klay Thompson that led the way for much of the game..
..but it was “Chef Curry” that took over in 4th, scoring 14 of his team’s 32 in the period, hitting unbelievable shots, including lefty floaters and crossing over Blazers bigs for his patented fadeaway threes:
The Blazers’ CJ McCollum responded by scoring 16 in the final quarter, including this jumper after decking Curry with the crossover:
But McCollum’s heroics, reminiscent of his 30 point breakout game in college against Duke, was in vain, as the Warriors iced the rest of the game with clutch free throws, and another insane fadeaway from Curry:
Oakland native Damian Lillard was hot early for the Blazers, scoring 21 in the first half, and made his 41st three pointer of the playoffs, a Blazer record for a single postseason:
Unfortunately Lillard came up short late, playing hero ball and getting poor shots off, keeping the ball from the red-hot McCollum:
Nonetheless, full credit to the Blazers, who were underdogs throughout the entire season, having lost 4 starters in the previous offseason:
Role players Al Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless had 16 and 13 apiece, including shooting 6 of 11 on three pointers total, a vast improvement from their previous seasons.
Allen Crabbe proved useful off the Blazers bench with 20 points with five threes.
Mason Plumlee had five points, four assists and six rebounds, seeming hesitant to drive against the Warriors’ defensive force Draymond Green, who had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Plumlee’s opponent Andrew Bogut suffered a hamstring injury which could be an issue in the Warriors matchup with the winner of the Thunder-Spurs series.
The Warriors’ Harrison Barnes had 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Shaun Livingston chipped in with 10.
As the true star of the show, Curry (with 29 points and 11 assist, after recently coming back from a leg injury!) was humble in his incredible achievements, thanking his teammates during his short-lived MVP speech, and fortunately recovered from being left hanging by commissioner Adam Silver when receiving his second consecutive MVP award:
Dub nation rolls on to the Western Conference finals, having faced a spirited Blazers team that didn’t let the Warriors, they of the unprecedented 73 win season, sweep them. In fact, they nearly won Game 4 as well as Game 3, but were beaten by Curry’s record breaking 17 points in overtime.
The Blazers will enter the 2016-2017 season with a youthful playoff-experienced squad, as the average age is 23 and a half, compared to the league average of 27. They have plenty of cap space (around $65 million!) to re-sign Harkless, Crabbe and center Myers Leonard, who missed the playoffs with a shoulder injury, as well as a free agent like veterans Al Horford or Dwight Howard, potential defector Barnes, or (god-forbid for the rest of the West) top free agent Kevin Durant.