Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
The Golden State Warriors did not play as they wished to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. They played like they needed as if a Western Conference Finals sweep was mission-critical to win their third straight championship, for it was just that.
The urgency paid off. Warriors got their Game 4 victory and their series swept with a 1
Became DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) and Kevin Durant (strained right calf) remained on the shelf of Game 4. They were joined by Andre Iguodala, who sat with a left nursing sufferer who suffered in Game 3.  Fight without important players is nothing new to Golden State. Durant has missed each of the last five tiles, and cousins have not taken the court since game 2 in the first round. But losing Iguodala added even more strain, causing the warriors to rotate the appearance of a skeletal crew member.
They felt the staff pushing immediately. Alfonzo McKinnie started in place of Iguodala, and head coach Steve Kerr went 11 players deep at the end of the first quarter:
Paolo Uggetti @ PaoloUggetti
Steve Kerr treats this game as he gets the player classes up for each warrior in his 2K franchise.
At some point in the year, when most teams shortened their rotations, the warriors expanded – not because they could but because they had no choice. 19659004] "We had to," Kerr told reporters afterwards on the NBA TV. "When you're missing Kevin Durant … you can't replace Kevin with a guy. You had to replace him with three or four nights after night. And tonight without others we had to find several minutes."  Some of these minutes were found within Stephen Curry . He played the entire second half, including all overtime, while Golden State attempted to delete Portland's 17 point advantage.
It wasn't always beautiful. Curry shot 4-of-16 from the floor during the last 29 minutes (2-of-9 from three) and was called for a voyage late in the fourth quarter after inexplicable  step his way out an open two.
As usual, he still puts pressure on the defense by pure existence. He was in constant motion out of the ball, dished out seven assists and grabbed 10 rebounds during his restless stretch. At the end of the night, he turned 36 points and made a small story:
Justin Kubatko @ jkubatko
Most points in the NBA record season history of a four-player player sweep:
146 – Stephen Curry, 2019 WCF
145 – Shaquille O & # 39; Neal, 2002 FIN
144 – LeBron James, 2017 ECS
140 – Kobe Bryant, 2001 WCS
He was also completely gas.
When Draymond Green buried a dagger tree in overtime to put Warriors up four within 40 seconds to play, Curry needed to stop and breathe before continuing to swim in the moment's happiness. Logging over 47 minutes, penultimate of his postseason career will make it a player:
Tom Haberstroh @ tomhaberstroh
Think Steve Kerr would have played? Steph Curry plays more minutes than he ever has during Kerr in a playoff game, the other half and OT.
So hard that game 4 looks very different if the warriors lose. They would not be in danger of losing the series, but chasing a victory at full birth when you are down 17, who are already shorthanded and will get another three bites on the apple, can be pointed as ruthless by the day after the revisionists.
It looks even more bizarre how much energy the warriors used to come here. They overcame an 18-point deficit in Game 3 and a 17 point hole in Game 2, all without cousins and Durant. This series sweep could very easily be a 2-2 deadlock or had Portland figured out how to score in the second half of Game 3, a 3-1 fall.
But the Warriors were not in that situation. They were in this one, up 3-0 and in full control of their fate despite all the injuries and hangups. They chose to award actual bets and potential implications to Game 4, and they deserve to be praised for it.
Don't forget the victory. Warrior's logic replaces their comfortable position. It shows a greater understanding of what they are trying to do and how much they still need those they do not currently have.
Shipment of Portland at some level may indicate that the missing state of the golden state is somehow immaterial. Curry was masterfully overall, averaging 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 helping to cut 46.9 / 42.6 / 93.8 to the series. Green's triple-double in Game 4 was a microcosm of his activity since Durant went down.
Klay Thompson is still Klay Thompson – sometimes a little too thirsty in the offensive end, but a defensive gnat and momentum-changing three are waiting to happen. Kevon Looney has intensified his presence on the glass and becomes integrated into their defensive survival without Durant.
Jordan Bell, once a resident of Kerr's dog house, has given Warriors quality measurements the last few games. McKinnie grabbed a few pivotal offensive rebounds in Game 4. Shaun Livingston can't play for many extended minutes, but his baby jumpers and runners are again automatic.
Are the warriors undervalued without Durant? Maybe.
Andy Bailey @ AndrewDBailey
The warriors were down Kevin Durant, Iguodala and Boogie. Klay Thompson went 7-of-21. They still won a game where Meyers Leonard randomly scored 30 and McCollum and Lillard combined to 54.
Somehow, two-hour MVP Stephen Curry is still undervalued. Draymond can also be.
Let's say they're better? Not at all.
This current model is not sustainable – no doubt anyway. Either await or Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals, and both are harder tasks than Blazers. The warriors need the benefits they can cut out.
Earning this half and the next half is not just giving Durant and Iguodala – and potentially the cousin's time to get it right. It's about giving a much needed break to the players who have carried the team in their absence.
Curry needs the day off. Ditto for Green and Thompson. Really, the whole team must come up for the air.
Five consecutive NBA Finals appearances are great. And by breaking their belly to take Blazers into four games, the warriors have given themselves time to prepare for the next – not just physically, and not just for the official absent, but also mentally.
Unless otherwise noted, state approval of NBA.com, Basketball Reference or Cleaning the Glass. Salary and cap-hold information via Basketball Insiders and RealGM. Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter ( @danfavale ) and listen to him Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by B / R's Andrew Bailey.