Golden state and Houston are close to the conference finals

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr

"You've got to go there with the understanding that we're going to play and give everything that we have".

Ray Brewer won back-to-back titles in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-15.

The Golden State Warriors can reach yet another western conference final with a victory here.

Paul is normally reticent to discuss his past playoff failures, but the nine-time All-Star was candid about that particular letdown when he was interviewed on TNT moments after Houston took a 3-1 lead over the Utah Jazz with a 100-87 win in Game 5.

Golden State never trailed and ran out to a 14-point lead within six minutes in its 118-92 shellacking of New Orleans in Game 4. Expect a blowout and a cover. After all, it's the National Basketball Association playoffs. Toronto shook up its lineup in Game 3 on Saturday night by trying Fred VanVleet instead of Serge Ibaka, but the Raptors fell into the dreaded 3-0 series deficit when James made a running bank shot at the buzzer for the win.

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"Deep down you know it's a hoax, but there's also a part of you that's like, 'Hey, we're talking about a game, ' " Kerr said.

The Warriors went with their vaunted death lineup of Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala Sunday and every single player registered a plus/minus of plus-21 points or better.

When Kevin Durant decides to take over a game, there is no stopping him. Game 5 is on Tuesday night.

"What we saw from him today, that's what we need", Green said of Durant after Game 4. The Warriors ended the first quarter with a 15-point lead. New Orleans has leaned heavily on its starting five throughout the playoffs; even in a 26-point loss yesterday, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday both logged 40 minutes of action. But when it came to Mirotic - the keystone of the Pelicans' attack - the Warriors had no problem letting Iguodala shadow him in Game 4. But New Orleans comes in feeling like it's nearly playing with house money, knowing that things can't get much worse than they did in Game 4. But you play against that lineup the majority of the game anyway. "They did a much better job of running us off the (3-point) line". Close-out games require the best an aspiring championship team can muster, even one that's already been vetted twice in the past three seasons the way the Warriors have. Those little tweaks could play enough of a difference to return the series back to New Orleans. It felt like Sunday was the Pelicans only real chance to make this a series, and we see a lot of teams fold in elimination games when the series is pretty much finished.

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