Warriors snuff red-hot Trail Blazers
ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors stopped blazing-hot Portland in its tracks Sunday, putting a damper on Damian Lillard’s homecoming.
The Oakland native and Trail Blazers star guard struggled to make shots while Golden State snagged eight steals, forced 14 turnovers and held Portland to just 33.7 percent shooting in its 103-88 victory Sunday.
Stephen Curry went off for 38 points as the Warriors extended their lead to as many as 22 in the fourth quarter, their largest of the game.
The reserves changed the tone of the game in the second half. Warriors head coach Mark Jackson told SFBay that the bench needs to continue to do just that, and more:
“I think Jordan Crawford played his best game. … I thought the second unit guys did a great job, they did a good job of coming in and holding the fort down and even in some cases separating us.”
As the starters subbed back into the game, the Warriors’ lead dwindled to single digits with just 2:56 to go. Curry took matters into his hands, scoring five consecutive points. He added eight assists and seven rebounds in his 300th career game.
Draymond Green — who added a huge defensive spark — received a standing ovation when he fouled out of the game with 6:58 left in regulation.
Lee said that the under-the-weather Green continues to do everything asked of him:
“Draymond is a guy that is going to do all the little things. They don’t always show up on the stat sheet but he is a real glue guy for us.”
Slow starts and first-quarter deficits have been a nightmare for the Warriors as of late.
But for the first time since Jan. 10 (when the Celtics were in town), the Warriors were able to create an eight-point first-quarter lead.
The other achilles heel of Golden State has been the second unit not being able to maintain — much less increase — leads built by the starters.
It was no different in the first half Sunday. With 7:49 left in the first half, Portland took the lead 35-33 on an undefended Wesley Matthews lay in.
The Warriors were able to stay close in the first half thanks to 12 second-quarter points from All-Star Curry and went into intermission trailing Portland 55-54.
Curry told SFBay the defensive effort was exactly what they needed:
“It worked out for us early and we set the tone. Even though they had a minimal lead towards the end of the first half, we were able to make a run and get back in it.”
The third quarter heated up when Curry hit a deep three to put the Warriors on top 62-59.
A minute later, Andrew Bogut gave LaMarcus Aldridge a shove under the Portland basket. Aldridge retaliated, throwing the ball toward Bogut’s feet and both were given technical fouls.
The Warriors’ defense stepped up in the third frame, holding the Trail Blazers to just 12 points.
As Lillard went in for a layup he was blocked from behind by Draymond Green. On the other end, Iguodala put down a two-handed slam to give the Warriors a 68-61 advantage.
Lillard averages just over 20 points a game but finished the night with just 16. He said shots just weren’t falling for him or his teammates:
“We struggled offensively. It was on of those nights. They made shots, we missed shots. I thought we had some good looks, shots that we usually make, and we didn’t make them tonight.”
Golden State handled the rest of the game and came out with their first win at home since Jan. 10. Jackson said his team played the kind of defense he expects on a nightly basis:
“Just what the doctor ordered. I thought we did a great job of paying attention to detail and we started the game off the right way. It’s a big time win against a very good basketball team.”
The Warriors, now 27-18 overall, continue their homestand Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Washington Wizards (21-22).
Golden State evened the season series with Portland at 1-1, with two games remaining in Portland this season (March 16 and April 13). … The Trail Blazers, the highest-scoring team in the NBA, were held to below 100 points for just the ninth time this season, scoring a season-low 88 points. … Portland was held to below 40 percent for the first time this season, shooting a season-low 33.7 percent. … The Warriors’ starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut improved to 22-8 together #FullSquad. … David Lee tallied his 24th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds.