Warriors’ Sweep Puts Pressure on the East
Golden State Warriors completed a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. They did it without Kevin Durant who is battling a calf strain, and the other guys stepped up in a major way. Kevon Looney, Alonzo McKinnie, both with Wisconsin ties, had great games. Golden State also got the best version of Draymond Green which none of us have seen in the last couple of years. In three of the four games, Golden State trailed by double-digits only to take the lead late in each game. This really could be 3-1 or 2-2 yet it’s a sweep because Golden State is that damn good. Now, they get nine days off before the NBA Finals which is bad news for Milwaukee and Toronto.
If Bucks can get up 3-1, they look pretty good from a rest standpoint against Golden State. If they go down 2-2, things go out the window from being well-rested to face Golden State. They still get time off regardless of the outcome of this series. NBA Final begins on Thursday, May 30th, even if the series would go seven, Bucks or Raptors would have two days of rest. But if the series goes long in the East, the amount of wear-and-tear that will be on the body will not compare to Golden State.
Ryen Russillo of ESPN and The Ringer talks about how rest is overrated and an overblown topic in sports. It is an interesting take by one of the most respected guys in sports media. Personally, I go in and out of where I stand on rest. It matters in some capacity, but how much does it matter for the NBA Finals? If these teams go deep, the only game where rest may play into the game is Game 1. Then, the teams get a few days off between each Finals game. The only real effect the sweep could have on the Bucks/Raptors in Game 1.
NBA wants the Eastern Conference to go deep and not lose the momentum of the Finals leading up to next Thursday yet they also would like Giannis Antetokounmpo versus the Warriors. We’ll see if they can have their cake and eat it too.