After their deflating Christmas day blowout, the Warriors vowed to come out with more energy going forward.
It only took 46 minutes Thursday for Golden State (23-13) to finally show that promised intensity and reign in a game that looked to be out of reach. But that last-ditch burst wasn’t enough to prevent a 110-109 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers (20-15).
Seth Curry also lit up his brother and the rest of the Warriors, Stephen Curry made an illegal 30-foot shot from out of bounds that didn’t count and Kevin Durant, Curry and Thompson shooting a combined 4-of-11 from the free throw line.
It was the perfect summation of the game and, to a larger extent, the recent stretch of games the Warriors have sleepwalked through.
Steve Kerr said the team is just not right at the moment at it showed:
“I think we are the best free throw shooting team in the league. Like I said, strange game. We are in a little bit of a strange run and we’re going to get out of it. But when you’re not quite right, strange things happen. So the foul line stuff was kind of bizarre, but I’ve seen it before.”
So there was no more fitting way for it to end than an inexplicably weird Curry turnover when the Blazers were trying to foul him with 14 seconds left that would lead to the go-ahead Damian Lillard 3 just as it looked like the Warriors might somehow pull out a win.
Golden State’s chances had looked over and done with when Portland pulled ahead 96-86 with just three minutes to play in regulation. But Curry and Durant took over as they scored 13 of the last 15 points to force overtime.
Curry said that while he wants that last turnover back, he’s more focused on the way the team came back:
“When the trap comes you just have to be patient, we had timeouts I think. So it got the best of me on that one. But the way we fought in the second half to get back in the game was a sign of who we are. We just have to put together for the 48 minute game.”
It was all for naught though, as the Blazers did just enough to capitalize on all the mistakes.
Durant said the shots they were getting weren’t the problem, but how they reacted to them not falling:
“It’s difficult when we miss shots, especially the wide open ones. It just takes the energy out of the arena. We miss shots, that’s just a part of basketball, and I think we have to keep our heads up when we miss the good shots. Just knowing when we generate good shots, that’s what we want.”
Jusuf Nurkic killed the Warriors inside, just as every other center they’ve matched up with has. He had a team-high 27 points, 12 rebounds, four assists. It’s the second game in a row a European center has dismantled Golden State after Ivica Zubac starred on Christmas day.
Durant would finish with 26 points, 10 boards and 11 assists, but missed a fadeaway to win the game at the buzzer. Both he and Curry were the only players to break 20 points for the Warriors. Curry had 29, but also seven turnovers.
The game started with the offense humming as Draymond Green and Durant had 11 combined assists in the first quarter, which was every assist the team totaled.
But it stalled from that point on, despite the defense keeping them in the game.
Kerr said that the way teams are defending Green is clearly something they are going to see going forward:
“We’ve worked on some things the last couple of days and we know everybody’s going to do that. And it’s not just going to just turn overnight. I thought some of the things we worked on was effective but some of them were not instinctive.”
The Blazers shot just 36 percent from the field and an even worse 32 percent from deep yet they still won thanks to a slew of unforced errors by the Warriors.
A rematch with the Trail Blazers is on deck when the Warriors travel to Portland Saturday.
Kevin Durant had his 12th career triple-double and second this season. He was almost joined by Draymond Green who had 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. …The Warriors shot 6-of-15 from the free throw line, which is the worst shooting performance at the line since March 2007 with a minimum of 15 attempts.