The schedule doesn’t get easier, a quick trip down I-5 for the Portland Trail Blazers (33-12) to Oakland as they come for another rumble with the Golden State Warriors (27-18) on the second of a back-to-back. The last time these two teams played earlier in the season, the Blazers took a hit when Mo Williams and Wesley Matthews were tossed in a squabble that started when Warriors center Andrew Bogut shoved Joel Freeland and the two teams had to be separated. After the dust had cleared, the Blazers came together and fought back, winning a close game that hasn’t always been easy to do for Portland at Oracle Arena.
The shots simply weren’t falling as the Blazers succumbed to tired legs and the Warriors smelled blood and attacked. Stephen Curry showed why he was named a starter for the All-Star Game and banks in 38 points, and the Warriors manhandle the Blazers 103-88. Even MVP’s have off days.
The Blazers were able to hold on for much of the first half despite shooting a less than stellar percentage. The Splash Bros of Curry and Klay Thompson lit up the Warriors in the first quarter and had several six-eight to nothing runs that seemed to spell doom for the guys in red. Both LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard couldn’t find enough air under their shots, Mo Williams is throwing erratic passes and Golden State are making shot after shot after shot.
The lone bright spot to take away from a loss like this is the steady improvement of the bench play (outscored the Warriors 26-15). I don’t give Joel Freeland a lot of credit, but he and Robin Lopez and first-half Thomas Robinson were good solid defensive anchors and gave much needed energy that the starters couldn’t supply: Freeland grabs the offensive glass and finds CJ McCollum for the elbow jumper and a three! Blazers pick off a lazy pass and Robinson goes coast-to-coast for the one-hand jam! Portland actually was hoping for a slim five-point lead to carry into the second half but Curry gets a mismatch on Aldridge and hits a fading three-pointer right in his face at the buzzer.
From there things got worse. Portland’s shooting percentage skydives to 15% and at the four-minute mark they had only racked up six points. This was clearly the point in time to switch over to the GRAMMY’s and watch Beyonce strut her stuff. This game did have its chippy moment as Bogut fouled Aldridge as he drove to the hoop. He smacks Aldridge and shoves him clearly after the foul was called and Aldridge didn’t like it, leading to some words being tossed and the two having to be separated. Both were issued technical fouls and the refs became nervous of an eventual free-for-all and starting whistling at everything and everybody.
Golden State made more threes, the lead grew to nine, then 10, and 15 and 18 and that’s all she wrote. The Blazers’ second unit cut the deficit to single digits but the comeback was too little, too late and the Warriors get their revenge.
Are you sure you want to see some stats? Be careful, the following is NSFW:
- Nothing much you can say when LaMarcus Aldridge goes for 10 points, 11 rebounds, three turnovers and a ghastly 2-14 makes from the field. He was frustrated all night, getting banged up from David Lee and Bogut and tried so hard to get something going but all of his shots were horrible.
- Damian Lillard has had some success in his hometown but also struggled mightily, 16 points, four assists on 5-16 shooting.
- That left Wesley Matthews for much of the scoring load, he could only muster up a team-high 21 points, five rebounds on 5-14 field goals.
- By halftime the bench unit had a 19-5 advantage, and Joel Freeland leads them after with eight points, seven rebounds on a perfect 4-4 field goals! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!
- Portland’s shooting percentage tapped at 33% and almost was in danger of going to 10% during that disastrous third quarter.
- Golden State as typical can beat you from the outside and tonight was no different: 10-25 while Portland was 6-21.
- Portland went 26-33 from the free throw line to 17-21 for the Warriors.
- Portland turned it over 14 times to Golden State’s 9, and that’s a team that averages 17 turnovers a game.
- Points in the paint were another loss: outscored 40-28
- So were fast break points: outscored 18-13
- If you needed to find something to explain the second half in one image…this would be acceptable.
Brush this one off, go watch a funny movie and forget about this one. I would like to think the Blazers get some relaxing days off but they’re back at it again on Tuesday when the improving Memphis Grizzlies come to the Moda Center. From there, they’ll get a rare three-day break for Toronto on Saturday.