MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden were both unanimous selections for the All-NBA First Team for 2018-19.

The All-NBA teams were announced by the league on Thursday and the two standout stars of the season, Antetokounmpo and Harden, each received the full 500 points after being named on all 100 First Team ballots.

Giannis, twice on the Second Team, made the cut for the top side for the first time.

Stephen Curry, whose Golden State Warriors have reached the NBA Finals where they could face Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks, was next on 482 points.

Paul George (433 points) and center Nikola Jokic (411) completed the First Team.

On the Second Team, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving all made the cut.

Meanwhile, LeBron James, who missed the playoffs after moving to the Los Angeles Lakers, fell to the Third Team, alongside Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert and Kemba Walker.

With the pick, James ties the record for the most All-NBA selections with 15, although he was left out of the First Team for only the fourth time in his 16-year career.

The Golden State Warriors have reached their fifth successive NBA Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers. 

The Golden State Warriors are approaching a Western Conference finals sweep.

Two-time reigning champions Golden State topped the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 in a Game 3, extending their lead in the series to 3-0.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State's comeback win on Saturday, with another trip to the NBA Finals only one victory away.

 

Trail Blazers can't hold a lead

Portland led by double-digits at half-time for the second consecutive game, but blew their lead to the defending champions again.

Last time the Trail Blazers' blunder was at Oracle Arena, but home-court advantage made no difference.

Golden State have been the best third-quarter team during the NBA season, and now Portland have their back against the wall.

 

Golden State owning the break

The Warriors have been very fluid in transition against the Trail Blazers, as they have outscored Portland 53-23 in the series.

Golden State only allowed Portland eight fast-break points on the night, but recorded 21 of their own. The Warriors held the Blazers to a measly two fast-break points in Game 1.

The Trail Blazers are not getting any freebies, and that probably will not change.

 

Green has his fingerprints on everything

Draymond Green is simply a difference maker in every area for the Warriors. The 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year has seen an uptick in usage in the absence of Kevin Durant, and Golden State seem to have returned to the days of old because of it.

Green stuffed that stat sheet with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals and a block against Portland. Although he committed three fouls, he helped set the tone with his usual physicality. He also provided valuable leadership qualities to keep his team in the hunt.

The Trail Blazers will attempt to get their first win of the series on in Portland on Monday.

Two-time reigning champions the Golden State Warriors are one win away from the NBA Finals after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 on Saturday.

Golden State used a Draymond Green triple-double and a third-quarter comeback to top the Trail Blazers in Portland for a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

After trailing by 13 points at half-time in Game 3, the Warriors outscored the Trail Blazers 29-13 in the third quarter to take a lead into the final frame they would never relinquish.

Over the last two games, Golden State – playing without injured star Kevin Durant due to a calf strain – have outscored Portland 68-39 and erased double-digit deficits in each of those outings.

The Trail Blazers' free-throw shooting absolutely destroyed their chances down the stretch as they missed 13 free throws in the clash.

Warriors star Stephen Curry posted a game-high 36 points while adding six rebounds and three assists for the visitors, while team-mate Green had 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals.

The Trail Blazers face elimination when they host the Warriors again in Game 4 on Monday.

The Golden State Warriors are firmly in control of the Western Conference finals after edging the Portland Trail Blazers 114-111 in Game 2.

Golden State pulled out a win over the Trail Blazers in a back-and-forth game at Oracle Arena on Thursday as the two-time reigning champions earned a 2-0 series lead.

The visiting Trail Blazers outplayed Golden State early and held a 15-point advantage heading into half-time.

But, the Warriors worked their way back into the contest by opening the third quarter on a 16-4 run and erased an eight-point deficit with a little less than 4:30 to play in the final period.

Trailing by three points with 12.3 seconds remaining, Portland had a final chance to tie the score. Andre Iguodala, however, stripped the ball away from Damian Lillard as he was attempting a three-pointer to level the game.

Stephen Curry was once again phenomenal for Golden State. He finished with 37 points on 11-of-22 shooting and added eight assists, along with eight rebounds. Klay Thompson contributed 24 points.

Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 45 points for Portland in the losing effort.

The Trail Blazers will host Game 3 on at the Moda Center in Portland on Saturday.

 

Stephen Curry said reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors have to adjust their game plan without star Kevin Durant in the line-up.

Durant has not played since straining his calf in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets last week and he is still "not close" to returning, according to reports.

Golden State guard Curry was asked how the Warriors' offensive strategy has changed without Durant on the floor ahead of Thursday's Western Conference final Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"Without KD, we have to play differently," Curry told ESPN's 'The Jump. "We have to highlight what everybody’s strengths are and do it by committee.

"You hear the noise, 'KD goes out, nobody, it's weird to say gave us a shot or said we shouldn't have won the Houston series' or whatever the case is. Again, confidence and trust in each other to be able to make that adjustment on the fly."

The Warriors eliminated the Rockets in Game 6 of their semi-final series and have since taken a 1-0 lead over the Trail Blazers in the Conference finals.

"It's fun to win. I don't care what the narrative is," Curry said. "When [Durant] goes out, when he's not in the line-up, we have the ability to shift. … Again, I like winning. Whoever is on the floor, we know how to get that done."

Curry scored 36 points and hit nine three-pointers in Golden State's Game 1 win over the Trail Blazers. His brother, Seth, is a backup guard for Portland.

"Let's just put it this way, when he's on defense, I could care less, because I need to get my buckets, I need to score," the Warriors star said. "But, when I was guarding him, he had a corner three in front of our bench and it's such a mixed feeling. I can't really turn it off, to be honest. … It's just weird."

 

Portland Trail Blazers' Seth Curry does not think the Golden State Warriors are a better team without Kevin Durant but he does think the two-time reigning NBA champions are harder to guard.

Golden State star Durant missed the opening game of the Western Conference finals due to a calf strain as the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday.

Curry – the younger brother of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – was asked about facing Golden State without Durant ahead of Thursday's Game 2 at Oracle Arena.

"I think they are harder to guard [without Durant]," Seth Curry told The Athletic. "They move around faster when he's not out there. They're definitely not a better team, but they're harder to guard.

"Obviously, they play a different style of basketball when Steph and [Golden State guard] Klay [Thompson] are the focal points offensively, and we haven't played that team in a while. We've got to re-shift our focus and make some adjustments."

Portland's Curry scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in Game 1, while his brother finished with 36 points and hit nine three-pointers to lead Golden State to victory.

Durant – a two-time champions and NBA Finals MVP – has not played since he suffered the injury in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets last week.

He is still "not close" to returning, according to an earlier report from ESPN.

Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson told reporters Durant is "dying" to get back on the court.

"Just him being back there in the locker room and being around practice, I know he’s just dying to get out there on the court," Thompson said, via The Mercury News. "But we definitely feel his energy, and we can't wait until he comes back. We miss him."

 

The Portland Trail Blazers are re-evaluating their defensive strategy against Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Portland sunk their big men instead of trapping on pick-and-rolls, which led to the Warriors knocking down 51.5 per cent of their three-point attempts in a 116-94 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday.

Curry picked apart the Trail Blazers in the victory, scoring 36 points on nine-of-15 shooting from behind the arc.

Portland coach Terry Stotts was asked if the team were planning to make adjustments when he met with reporters on Wednesday.

"I think we have to re-think it," Stotts said, via ESPN.

"But, we were down six going into the fourth quarter and Steph had one basket in the fourth quarter. They scored 39 in the fourth quarter without him scoring one basket in the pick-and-roll.

"So, it goes beyond that, but yes, we have to revisit what we want to do on pick-and-rolls."

Stotts' comments came one day after he was unhappy with a reporter for asking him about the team potentially changing their defense following Game 1. Stotts apologised at his news conference on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson added 26 points for Golden State in the win while five Portland players reached double figures in the losing effort.

The Warriors will host Game 2 on Thursday.

The Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday when the Portland Trail Blazers travel to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1.

Golden State has overcome several postseason injuries to key players while Portland has surpassed the expectations of most.

Omnisport looks at three things that could determine the outcome of this series between the Warriors and Trail Blazers.

Kevin Durant's health

The absence of the postseason's top scorer will definitely affect Golden State's offense. Durant has not played since Game 5 of the second round, when he suffered what has been described as a mild calf sprain. One report on Monday said the star could realistically miss four to five games of the Blazers series while recovering.

Durant has averaged 34.2 points per game through 11 playoff contests, but he is effective elsewhere as well. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averages 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

His tall frame and astonishing quickness make him one of the NBA's most versatile defenders. His mobility allows him to guard any position and create plenty of mismatches when he initiates the offense.

Part of what makes Golden State so great is their seemingly limitless arsenal, but with two starters down with injuries - Durant and big man DeMarcus Cousins - the Warriors seem considerably more vulnerable.

Stephen Curry is battling a dislocated finger and that makes matters even worse.

Damian Lillard's efficiency

Damian Lillard was not at his best in the second round. 

The Trail Blazers star struggled to be efficient against the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 25.1 points per game in the series but shot just 39.6 percent from the field. He was worse from deep, making just 27 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.

Lillard is deadly when he is on form, and he will need to be that to counter the most efficient three-point shooting team in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 37.2 percent from range and will likely throw plenty of bodies at Lillard to limit Portland's offense. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will likely be assigned these roles.

Lillard was phenomenal in the first round against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. He averaged 33 points per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from deep.

These numbers probably will not be replicated, but it is clear that Portland's star is capable of so much more. He will need to play closer to his ceiling to reach the NBA Finals.

Bench production

Golden State's rotation choices could be interesting moving forward. The Warriors' bench minutes seemed to diminish against the Houston Rockets. Durant's injury forced them to surprisingly use 11 players in their decisive Game 6 win against Houston.

The Warriors got 33 bench points in that contest, which is unusual for a team that ranks 14th in reserve points per game out of the 16 teams in this year's playoffs. The Warriors are averaging 22 bench points per game, but Portland have not been much better.

The Trail Blazers rank 10th, averaging 27.8 bench points per game.

Getting unexpected baskets from second units could be the force that pushes one side over the top.

Stephen Curry expressed his gratitude for the support of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade after he led the Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets and into the Western Conference Finals.

Warriors star Curry was held scoreless in the opening two quarters of Game 6 against the Rockets at Toyota Center on Friday but produced a sensational second half, racking up 33 points to inspire the defending NBA champions - who were without the injured Kevin Durant - to a 118-113 victory and a 4-2 series success.

That haul represented Curry's best since the opening game of the playoffs, and comprehensively silenced any doubters.

And Los Angeles Lakers star James, who faced Curry in each of the past four NBA Finals during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, voiced his backing of his fellow three-time champion, as did retired Miami Heat legend Wade.

James posted on Twitter: "NEVER underestimate the heart of a Champion!!!!"

Wade added on his account: "Y'all better stop disrespecting @StephenCurry30 just because he's a team first guy and is willing to sacrifice in moments doesn't mean he's not still a beast."

Asked if he felt he had been disrespected or underestimated ahead of Game 6, Curry took a long pause before responding.

"I've heard a lot of noise this series, for sure, I'll just leave it at that," he said.

"Whether it's positive, negative, whatever the case is, I know what I'm capable of and it's bigger than me, so I don't get caught up in that.

"I don't need any extra motivation, I don't need to hear who I am as a player, I know that. My confidence never wavers in those situations so I appreciate those words.

"Champions recognise champions and what it takes to win games like tonight and do what we've been able to do over these last five years so hopefully [there is] more of that to come."

The Golden State Warriors did not need a Game 7 at home.

Golden State's clutch 118-113 win over the Houston Rockets on the road at Toyota Center saw them advance to the NBA Western Conference finals on Friday.

The Warriors, who entered the game as heavy underdogs in the absence of Kevin Durant, broke the hearts of the Rockets and their fans.

And the game was just the latest testament to the two-time defending NBA champions amazing resiliency even when they are hampered by injuries and other issues.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' big victory.

 

Warriors' bench more capable than we thought

Golden State obviously had the most talented starting line-up in basketball this season. But many knocked them for their lack of depth.

The Warriors have had elite talent for a while, but the quality contributions they got from their bench were critical Friday night.

In the absence of Durant, who was ruled out for the series with a calf injury, Golden State posted 33 bench points. Both Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11) tallied double-digits in scoring.

The Warriors' rotation had shrunk in recent weeks, but 11 players were featured in Friday's close-out game.

 

Curry is still … well, Curry

The two-time MVP's shooting has been inconsistent in the second round, and Game 6 was no exception.

Stephen Curry had been dealing with a dislocated finger for several games and was held scoreless in the first half. But he heated up to finish with a team-high 33 points and sank clutch free throws to seal the deal for his team.

Golden State's leader has continued to pull through for his team in the postseason, and now the Warriors will go to their fifth consecutive Western Conference finals.

 

Charity stripe helped do Rockets in

Houston and Golden State had almost identical stats.

Both teams made exactly 42 field goals on the night. The Warriors made one more three-pointer but lost the rebounding battle by five.

The Rockets only lost by five points. James Harden finished with a game-high 35 points, but accounted for all five of Houston's missed free throws. Houston did not have much room for mistakes, and one of their failures to capitalise on one of their strengths might have caused them to fall short.

The Warriors will get to rest for now and prepare to face the Portland Trail Blazers or Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.

The Golden State Warriors advanced to their fifth successive Western Conference finals after beating the Houston Rockets 118-113 in Game 6.

Stephen Curry stepped up in the absence of injured star Kevin Durant (calf) as the Warriors sealed a 4-2 series victory in Houston on Friday.

After a scoreless first half, Curry finished with a team-high 33 points for Golden State.

Klay Thompson held down the fort for Golden State to start, pouring in 27 points on seven made three-pointers.

James Harden and Chris Paul played well. The duo combined for 62 points on 22-of-44 shooting in Houston's loss. But some missed free throws and a late game scoring drought spelled the end for the Rockets.

"This one's going to leave a mark," said Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Warriors will face the either the Denver Nuggets or Portland Trail Blazers, who are competing in a Game 7 on Sunday.

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson said it will be hard to fill Kevin Durant's void against the Houston Rockets in the NBA playoffs.

Defending NBA champions the Warriors will be without Durant for Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-finals due to a calf strain.

Discussing Durant's absence, Thompson believes if the Warriors can rotate as a team and communicate, they can walk away with a win and advance to the Conference finals.

"We have to play with great passion and great heart," Thompson said. "It obviously won't be as smooth without Kevin out there.

"But if we play with those things listed, we'll give ourselves a chance to win. It won't be pretty. But it's the playoffs. I'll take any chance you can get it."

Warriors star Stephen Curry added: "I'll just play my game. I didn't wake up today with extra weight on my shoulders or anything.

"I feel like that every single day. I just play basketball and have fun doing it.

"No matter what the situations is, it's coming in with the right mindset. I have to play well and be aggressive. I'd like to shoot the ball better. But my confidence stays the same. I'll just play my game."

Entering Friday's game, the Warriors have a slight edge as they lead the series 3-2.

Steve Kerr took a leaf out of Jurgen Klopp's book and labelled his Golden State Warriors side "f****** giants" after they saw out a 104-99 victory over the Houston Rockets without Kevin Durant.

Warriors star Durant will undergo an MRI scan on Thursday after leaving Game 5 late in the third quarter on Wednesday with a calf injury.

However, the defending NBA champions were able to move into a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semi-final series in the absence of the 2014 MVP.

Liverpool manager Klopp hailed his side as "f****** mentality giants" in a live television interview after they produced an astonishing fightback to beat Barcelona 4-0 and reach the Champions League final on Tuesday.

Warriors head coach Kerr apologised to his mother for quoting the German when describing his side.

"If Kevin is out, then what you saw in the fourth quarter is what you're going to have to see going forward," Kerr said when asked how the Warriors would cope without Durant.

"We're going to have to find a way, but we got it done today. I don't know if you're a soccer fan, but Liverpool came out with one of the great wins in soccer history [on Tuesday] and after the match their manager, Jurgen Klopp, said: 'Young kids in Liverpool are probably asleep right now, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it but our boys are f****** giants.' That's what he said.

"I know how he feels, so I apologise to my mom, who is probably watching, but our guys are f****** giants."

He then quipped to a reporter: "After dark I'm a different guy, right?! Sorry mom."

Kerr was impressed with the way the Warriors stepped up when Durant departed, particularly Stephen Curry, who scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.

He added: "They responded beautifully. We have to play differently because he's such a huge part of what we do, and I think you saw Steph go into a different mode when Kevin went out injured.

"He had to be the offensive fulcrum, he knew things were going to run through him and he took over that fourth quarter. It wasn't a great night for him until that point, but he was brilliant in the fourth when we really needed him."

NBA champions the Golden State Warriors moved ahead in their Western Conference semi-final against the Houston Rockets, while the Milwaukee Bucks ousted the Boston Celtics.

At Oracle Arena in California, the Warriors defeated the Rockets 104-99 to claim a 3-2 lead in the playoff series on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson had 27 points, while Stephen Curry added 25 of his own for the Warriors.

Warriors star Kevin Durant left in the fourth quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. It is unclear what his status will be for Game 6.

As for Draymond Green's antics, he was called for a technical foul for kneeing Chris Paul after drawing an offensive foul.

Green would later foul out of the game after playing very well, especially in the early going on home court after collecting 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Game 6 is set to be played in Houston on Friday – the Rockets facing elimination.

Boston fell to Milwaukee 116-91 to lose their Eastern Conference semi-final series in five games.

The Bucks won the final four games of the series by an average of 16.3 points, sealing a 4-1 triumph as Milwaukee await the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers matchup.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Bucks, who reached the Conference finals for the first time since 2001.

 

Bledsoe helps Bucks

Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe had 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in the win.

James Harden had 31 points, eight assists and four steals as the Rockets lost on the road.

 

Irving headlines Boston's woes

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 15 points but his shooting woes continued as he went six of 21 from the floor and one of seven from three-point range.

Austin Rivers did not give the Rockets a lot of help off the bench, going one-of-six shooting and 0 for four from beyond the arc.

 

Giannis with the slam!

The Greek star showcased his MVP credentials again as the Bucks progressed in the postseason.

 

Nuggets at Trail Blazers

In a series where every game but the last one has been good, the Portland Trail Blazers once again have a chance to play on their home court. Portland are fantastic at home and have a chance to extend the series to seven games with victory against the Denver Nuggets.

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