Posted on March 10, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Golden State went into Portland Friday night knowing they were down Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, and much of their depth. But head coach Steve Kerr still felt good about his other three all-stars could do against the Trail Blazers. Surely Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green would be enough to get the job done.
As it turns out, they were not.
Durant was 12-21 including 6-12 from three-point range for 40 points and Thompson added 25. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the night Damian Lillard (28 points), CJ McCollum (30 points), and the Portland bench (four players scored in double figures).
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Portland began to take control of the game about midway through the first quarter and held a six-point lead, 33-27, heading into the second. The Trail Blazers stepped on the gas in the second and took a 45-30 lead with 8:04 after a 12-3 run.
The Warriors got within five late in the quarter. But at the half, Portland led by nine, 61-52. But the Trail Blazers were far from comfortable with that lead.
“We know they take over games and dominate third quarters and they came out and made a run for it and I really liked how we weathered that storm,” Lillard said after the game (ESPN). “They did what they always do, but we kept fighting.”
Kevin Durant gave the Warrior the lead, 75-73, with a 24-foot three-pointer with 4:35 left in the third. But by the time the fourth rolled around, the lead was back in Portland’s favor, 87-83.
The Warriors got within one point early in the fourth but were unable to slow down the Trail Blazers offense. Portland outscored Golden State 38-25 in the final 12 minutes to win the game 125-108.
“They hit shots,” Durant said after the game (ESPN). “They’ve been making shots on this run they’re on for a while. I thought we did a good job making them take some tough ones, but they made them.”
The Trail Blazers deserve credit for hitting the shots that they did (44-89 from the floor; 16-39 from three-point range). But they got a helping hand from some uncharacteristic poor play from the Warriors. They seemed to have trouble executing plays and fouled Portland several times while shooting three-pointers.
Draymond Green picked up his 15th technical foul of the season which means the next one earns him a one-game suspension.
“Obviously they’re down some players,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said (ESPN), “but they’re still a really talented team and it was a good win.”
Durant is the main scoring threat for the Warriors, but the team is clearly not the same when Steph Curry is not on the court. The current plan has him sitting out the two-game road trip the team is currently on. But when he had ankle trouble earlier this season he sat out 11 games (the team went 9-2 in those games).
Houston lost Friday night as well, so the Warriors remain a half game back of the Western Conference leaders.
Golden State will be back in action Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves. Portland will try to keep the good times rolling when the Miami Heat come to town Monday night.