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The Golden State Warriors blitzed through the Western Conference, sweeping their way past the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.
The Western Conference Finals was a cakewalk for the Dubs. The Warriors were surely aided by Kawhi Leonard’s absence after the San Antonio superstar twisted his ankle on Zaza Pachulia’s foot. Dirty or not, it doesn’t matter now. Retroactive morality won’t change the result.
Even more impressive than the unblemished record: Golden State posted a single-digit margin of victory just twice. In round 1, Portland only lost Game 3 by six points after leading through three periods, thanks to C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard both breaking the 30-point barrier. The Spurs were on the wrong end of a mere two-point defeat after blowing a 25-point Game 1 lead after Leonard’s injury. Utah dropped every game by at least 11 points.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, made things a bit more interesting in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
First, they swept the Indiana Pacers by a combined 16 points, only winning the opening contest after a missed buzzer-beater attempt from C.J. Miles. The Toronto Raptors didn’t pose much of a threat while operating without Kyle Lowry, but the Boston Celtics actually won Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals to prevent both juggernauts from meeting in the Finals undefeated. Of course, Cleveland responded by winning the next two outings by a combined 46 points—just barely more than the 44-point Game 2 victory.
To put the dual dominance in perspective, the Spurs finished the postseason with the NBA playoff’s No. 3 net rating, outscoring opponents by 0.7 points per 100 possessions. Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, Cleveland and Golden State have net ratings of 16.1 and 16.8, respectively.
Complete Guide to the 2017 NBA Finals – Bleacher Report