When the Trail Blazers announced that LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman would all sit out Tuesday’s game against Golden State, all reasonable Blazer fans realized that the home team would have little to no chance of notching a ‘W’ and ending their four-game skid.
In the first half, the depleted Portland squad played as hard as they have all season. With LaMarcus and Nic both out, Damian knew that he needed to look for his shot early, and he did just that. Lillard shot 3-of-7 from the field in the first quarter, but made two three-pointers and all four of his free throws, resulting in 12 first-quarter points for Dame. Dorrell Wright also went 3-of-4 in the quarter, scoring seven first-quarter points of his own. The Trail Blazers didn’t turn the ball over at all in the quarter, and managed to take a four-point lead into the second, despite the Warriors shooting 50% from the field.
In the second quarter, it was CJ McCollum’s time to shine. The second-year guard from Lehigh isn’t afraid to shoot, and turned out to be a good thing tonight. CJ went 4-of-8 from the field and shot 2-of-3 from three-point range in the quarter. As a result, the Blazers went into the half with a 62-57 lead, giving Trail Blazers’ fans a glimmer of hope of pulling off the seemingly impossible.
Then, the second half started, and the Warriors quickly showed why they are the best in the business. Golden State shot 64% in the quarter, outscoring the Blazers 36-18. From there, the Blazers continued to fight, but it was pretty clear that they didn’t have much of a chance from that point on.
Lillard led the way for the Blazers, finishing with 29 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 33 minutes of play. CJ McCollum had a great night, going for a career-high 23 points in 29 minutes.
With the loss, the Trail Blazers have dropped five straight games and have a record of 44-25 on the year. It’s important to note that the Thunder won tonight, so Portland’s division lead has shrunk to just four games. If the Blazers don’t start winning soon, the Northwest Division title could be in danger.
Everything seems to be going sour for the Blazers at the wrong time, but there is one positive – Portand’s schedule softens up significantly this week. Portland will face the Jazz on the road Wednesday, the Suns on the road Friday, and return home to Moda Center to face the Nuggets at home on Saturday.