Warriors survive late run by Portland, Hang on to Win 111-104
The Golden State Warriors (21-6) came off an undefeated road trip and were looking to stretch their winning streak to seven games, but to do so, they would have to beat the Portland Trail Blazers (13-12). The Warriors would still be without Stephen Curry who was out with a sprained ankle, Draymond Green, who had a sore shoulder, and Zaza Pachulia. Patrick McCaw would also be making his return to the team after being out with a concussion. The Trail Blazers were looking to put an end to their four-game losing streak before heading to Miami to take on the Heat. The Warriors went on to win the game 111-104.
In the first quarter, the Warriors were pretty sloppy, which was expected because they were missing three of their starters. The sloppiness came because the offense had to run through Kevin Durant most of the time, and the Blazers knew that, and forced him into making some costly passes, and he turned the ball over three times in the opening quarter. Despite all the sloppiness, the Warriors shot the ball extremely well at 52.2%, while the Blazers were close behind at 50%. A big difference between the teams was their three-point shooting. The Warriors went 3-6 (50%), and the Blazers went 2-9 (22.2%). Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 8 points, while Omri Casspi was close behind with 7. CJ McCollum was very good for the Blazers and made several impressive mid-range jumpers and had 8 points after the opening quarter. After the first, the Trailblazers led the Warriors 28-27.
The second quarter saw the Warriors dominate the Blazers in nearly every facet of the game. Kevin Durant kept scoring and finished the half with 17 points, but Nick Young came off the bench and started 5-5, and ended the half with 12 points. The Warriors’ shooting percentage rose even higher, to 59.5%, while the Blazers’ plummeted to 40.5%. The Warriors’ bench was spectacular all half, David West dunked so hard that he broke a camera on the backboard, and Andre Iguodala did a spectacular job running the offense in Steph and Draymond’s absence. The Warriors only turned the ball over once in the second quarter, finishing the half with just six turnovers. The Warriors’ defense was also great, and they finished the half with five blocks and four steals. David West had three of those blocks, and two of them were remarkable, and were some of the most violent blocks I have ever seen. Damian Lillard got hot for the Blazers towards the end of the half, and finished the half with 19 points on 50% shooting. The one really telling stat about the problem with the Blazers in the first half was their poor three-point shooting, as they only shot 25% from three, while the Warriors shot 50%. At the half, the Warriors led the Blazers, 60-47.
In the third quarter, the Warriors continued to dominate the Blazers. The Warriors shot the ball at a 59.7% clip, while the Blazers only shot 38.1%. Kevin Durant stayed hot, and finished the quarter with 26 points, and four other Warriors were in double digits for scoring. Jordan Bell feasted on the Blazers throughout the entire quarter, and threw down a couple monster dunks while also smacking away a layup attempt on a beautiful chase-down block. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who were doing most of the scoring for the team, and combined for 49 points through three quarters. After three quarters, the Warriors led 93-75.
In the fourth quarter, the Blazers made an incredible run on the back of Damian Lillard, who finished the game with 39 points. However, any momentum that the Blazers built on the back of Lillard, was taken away by big plays from the bench, especially from David West. West had an incredible game, finishing with 10 points and four blocks, two of those points came on a ferocious dunk on Jake Layman. As the game got close towards the end, Klay Thompson stepped up and hit two big three’s to ice the game. The Warriors hung on to win the game, 111-104.
The Warriors came out sloppy for this game and I honestly thought that they were going to lose as the duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard went crazy. I also expected a joint interview from the duo after the game in which they declared themselves the best backcourt in the NBA. The Warriors stepped up though, and took the game over in the second and third quarters, and it was thoroughly impressive. KD did his thing and ended up with 28 points, while grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out five assists, and blocked three shots. The next highest scorer for the Warriors was Klay Thompson, who finished with 24 points, but he did so while going 9-21 from the field, so it was not his best night. The two most impressive performances for the Warriors came from Jordan Bell (11 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk) and David West (10 pts, 2 reb, 4 blk).
The Warriors played a really good all-around game. They shot the ball at a 55% clip from the field, which included going 10-20 (50%) from deep. They also blocked nine shots and picked up five steals en route to a defensive beatdown in which the Warriors held the Blazers to just 42% shooting from the field and 25% from three. While Damian Lillard did explode late for the Blazers with 39 points, the Warriors still made him miss 16 shots, and he only had two assists, which means that the Blazers’ outburst in the fourth quarter was all on the back of Lillard.
I have been very impressed by how the Warriors have played without Stephen Curry these past few games. Last year, when they lost KD, it took them a couple of games to figure themselves out, but this year they have seamlessly transitioned and have continued to play well and win. They managed to keep their win streak going, and stretched it to seven games before having a three-day break before playing the Dallas Mavericks.
Also, tonight's game was Andre Iguodala's 1,000th career game, and he had a spectacular dunk that was reminiscent of his days in Philadelphia.
The Warriors play next on Thursday, December 14 at home against the Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 p.m.