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Blazers vs. Warriors was an epic shootout. We're all winners for seeing it

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An unexpectedly close opener had fans watching through the final minutes.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers played a heck of an opening playoff game for a first-round matchup between the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds.

Many had the Warriors sweeping.

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum had them reconsidering, at least for a half.

With virtually no scoring options on the inside for either team, both pushed the tempo as expected. The Blazers watched an unprecedented 48-point first half from their backcourt alone, as McCollum scored at will off the drive as well as back out to the three-point line.

Lillard matched his play, including a prayer from just inside the logo at halfcourt to head to halftime tied.

That set the tone for what was to come. It made the Warriors step their game up, and what a display it was. The final score was 121-109, but this was a battle.

Golden State exerted more energy than it expected for an opening round at home. Draymond Green posted a near-triple-double with 19, 12 and nine, Kevin Durant was solid with 32 points, and Stephen Curry’s very good 29-point night was overshadowed by his opponents’ backcourt scoring clinic.

It took every contributor on this Warriors team’s historic roster to secure what was supposed to be an easy win. It also took a pair of incredibly timed blocks from Green to have the fans at Oracle at ease with which side of the close game their team was on.

Portland is down 1-0, but this was a heroic display nonetheless. This team was considered out of the playoffs after it traded Mason Plumlee ahead of the trade deadline. Now, it’s worth wondering if this team can make it a series with the Warriors.

As much as Lillard and McCollum are criticized for their inability to stop Curry and Klay Thompson, the opposite held true as well. The two Blazers finished with 75 points on 28-of-54 shooting, and breathed life into what was a presumed to be a dead series.

The NBA playoffs are at their best when the Warriors’ superstars have a reason to step their game up.

We just don’t typically see that in April.