Golden State to punch out Portland tonight?

 Golden State to punch out Portland tonight?

The current king of the NBA returned to dominate the Western Conference semifinals on Monday. Tonight, he’ll hold court in front of the loyal subjects at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors can eliminate the Blazers with a victory in several hours. Oddmsakers at online sports book Bet DSI aren’t shy about listing the hosts as 13-point favorites. The over/under, meanwhile, sits at 217.5 points.

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Golden State used a Herculean effort from the two-time MVP to snatch a commanding 3-1 edge in the series. Curry, in his first action since spraining his right knee in the team’s opening-round series vs. Houston, exploded for 40 points in the Warriors’ 132-125 overtime victory in Game 4. A league-record 17 of those points came during the extra session.

The sharpshooter’s long been indefensible, but he actually labored to regain that patented stroke early on Monday. Curry missed his first nine 3-point attempts, and Portland actually held a 71-59 lead in the third quarter. Matters quickly unraveled from there, however, as Damian Lillard (36 points) couldn’t get enough help to prevent Rip City from falling into despair.

Now, Terry Stotts’ challenge seems nearly impossible: Find a way to beat the group that set a new single-season record for wins, and do so in a downright frightening building. Golden State is 44-2 at home this season. Steve Kerr’s club simply knows how to reach a different level of excellence in that venue, and it’s not solely on Curry to show the way.

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Indeed, Klay Thompson’s in the midst of a mammoth run. The All-Star guard is averaging 30.5 points for the series, in fact, while Draymond Green’s scoring 24.5 points and pulling down 11.3 boards per tilt. The Blazers have no such balance. Besides Lillard and backcourt mate C.J. McCollum, no one’s putting up more than 14.5 points a game. There’s a big-time shortage of rim protectors, too, with the exception of Mason Plumlee.

Make no mistake – the Warriors see what’s happening in the Thunder-Spurs matchup. They recognize that any bit of additional rest will come in handy when the conference finals finally roll around. If this sounds like a foregone conclusion, well, that’s because it is. The only question pertains to exactly how lopsided the outcome turns out to be.

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