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ESPN Reporter Says Blazers Should Exploit This Weakness To Have A Chance To Dethrone The Warriors

 

Courtesy of NBC

The Portland Trailblazers are back in the Western Conference Finals for the first since the Jailblazers era that featured Rasheed Wallace, Benzi Wells, Scottie Pippen, and Jermaine O’Neal to name a few. In the 2000 Western Conference Finals, the Blazers were a game away from reaching the NBA finals. However, the Blazers ran into the Kobe, and Shaq led Lakers and lost game seven 89-84. The Lakers would later go on to win the first of three straight championships in the Kobe and Shaq era.

Nineteen years later, the Blazers find themselves in the way of history again as the Golden State Warriors are coming off back to back championships, but will be without their best player Keven, who will miss at least game one of the Western Conference Finals due to a right calf injury. His current status for game two is up in the air at this time.

Even without Kevin Durant, the warriors still have four capable players that can hold down the fort until Durant returns. Steph, Klay, Draymond, Andre, and Andrew Bogut more than equipped to give the Blazers headaches this series even if Durant misses the entire series.

ESPN’s Jorge Sedano was a guest on Sports Center At Night and had a great analogy on how the Blazers could possibly beat the Warriors in this series

“This is fascinating. So, I feel like the Rockets and the Cavs have had this recipe in the past, which is to force Steph Curry to defend. If you can work Steph Curry on defense, it has shown at times the legs aren’t there and the shot won’t fall the same. This is a strategy that worked to an instant, but it is not necessarily full-proof to the imagination. If I were the Blazers that is where I would attack this thing schematically,“ said Sedano.

However, there have been many prominent NBA personalities that have been on the record stating the Blazers will reach the NBA Finals. Two of them being TNT NBA analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

“I tell you what, I’m all in on the Trail Blazers,” Barkley said.

“I like Portland. I thought before [Jusuf] Nurkic got hurt, they had a chance of winning the West. … I still think so.”

Barkley is also a fan of Portland’s center, Enes Kanter.

“You hear all these guys … talk about Kanter, ‘He’s not a great defender,’” Barkley said. “There’s been really good players in the NBA who weren’t great defenders. That guy is going to get you a double-double every night. All these people talk about what guys can’t do, instead of what they can do.”

Earlier this year, Barkley was interviewed by Heavy’s Brandon “Scoop B“  Robinson. During that interview, he stated that Portland was his choice this season to reach the finals.

 

“I like Portland in the Finals, With [Damian] Lillard and [CJ] McCollum. The addition of Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter. I like them in the West,” said Barkley.

Barkley’s TNT colleague Kenny Smith is also on the bandwagon.

“Charles, he can say something crazy all of the time,” Kenny Smith said.

“I don’t normally say it. I’m just saying, not every day in a seven-game series. I’m talking about just three games: shoot six for ten in between to combat guys shooting four for ten from three-point range. They have it, they have it! So to me, that separates them when they’ve been so close every year to get over the hump, that they can get to the Western Conference Finals and they’re a clear and present agent for the Warriors because the Warriors have had trouble with those two guards even in that set. And even, until this year, Oklahoma had trouble with those two guards; until this year.”

“Charles, he can say something crazy all of the time,” Kenny Smith said.

“I don’t normally say it. I’m just saying, not every day in a seven-game series. I’m talking about just three games: shoot six for ten in between to combat guys shooting four for ten from three-point range. They have it, they have it! So to me, that separates them when they’ve been so close every year to get over the hump, that they can get to the Western Conference Finals and they’re a clear and present agent for the Warriors because the Warriors have had trouble with those two guards even in that set. And even, until this year, Oklahoma had trouble with those two guards; until this year.”

Last Week, I spoke with former Blazer guard Bonzi Wells by phone, and I asked him if he agreed with both Smith and Barkley selection of the Blazers to represent the West this season.

“I think they have a great weave going on right now even though they lost game one in Denver and I think they learned a lot from it. I think they will make the proper adjustments, but I can see that,“ said Wells.

He would continue:

“I hope a guy like Enes Kanter can stay healthy because they are kind of light on the big man side of things Nurkic being out, but if Enes stays healthy. If Damian and C.J. continue to play at a high level and the other guys’ chip in like Aminu, Harkless, and those guys come in with the energy I think those guys can make a Finals runs.  The way this league is set up it is a make or miss league and it really depends on who is making shots that day.“

Warriors and Blazers will play each other tonight at Oracle Arena on ESPN.

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