Basketball / NBA

Warriors returning to NBA Finals after sweep

AP

Experience bred confidence for the Golden State Warriors, even when challenged by the upstart Portland Trail Blazers.

No matter how far they were down, they’ve been through too much to ever think they’re out.

“We just really understand what we’re capable of on both sides of the basketball,” Draymond Green said. “We’re never out of the fight. That’s just always our mindset.”

The Warriors swept their way to a fifth straight NBA Finals, getting triple-doubles from Stephen Curry and Green in a 119-117 overtime victory on Monday night.

The two-time defending champions overcame a double-digit deficit for the third straight game against the Blazers, back in the conference finals for the first time since 2000.

Green had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and made a key 3-pointer in overtime. Curry added 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. They became the first teammates to have triple-doubles in the same playoff game.

The Warriors will face the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Toronto and Milwaukee. The Bucks lead that series 2-1 with Game 4 on Tuesday night in Canada.

The Warriors came back from 17 down after erasing an 18-point deficit in Game 3 and a 17-point hole in Game 2.

“We’ve been here before. We’ve seen everything, every experience you can imagine. So we relied on that,” Curry said.

Playing without Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State became the first team to reach five straight finals since the Boston Celtics went to 10 in a row from 1957-66.

Damian Lillard, playing with separated ribs, had 28 points and 12 assists for Portland. He missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out in the extra period. Meyers Leonard added a career-high 30 points along with 12 rebounds.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts was asked if he was expecting another buzzer-beating winner from Lillard.

“Yeah, I did. I thought it was going to — kind of meant to be,” Stotts said. “When he shot it, it had a good arc. I thought it had a chance.”