The Portland Trail Blazers ran out of steam in Oakland tonight, as the Golden State Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter for an 8-point victory. It was a double-dose of frustration for Blazer fans, as the game went sour around the same time the deadline passed to sign Nicolas Batum to an extension.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Nicolas Batum (16 points in 22 minutes), with help from Jamal Crawford (16 points, an ugly 6 turnovers) and a rejuvenated Wesley Matthews (15 points on 9 shots).
The Blazers jumped out to a nice start, taking an early 10-point lead despite some struggles from Aldridge. The Warriors tightened the defense and started hitting threes, cutting the lead to two after the first.
In the second, the Blazer bench arrived, and the lead vanished. While the bench offense struggled, the defense was a bigger problem, as Golden State found uncontested shots from both inside and outside. However, Craig Smith helped keep the Blazers within 4 as the starters returned. Both Curry and Ellis caught fire from deep, but Aldridge and Batum rallied the team to a 5 point lead at halftime.
So in the first half, the Blazers shot well (45%), passed well (17 assists on 21 FG's) and took care of the ball (3 TO's). The Warriors shot even better, but with more turnovers. Can Portland keep up this pace and win the game?
The Warriors closed to a tie within seconds of the start of the third quarter, then pushed into the lead. The Blazers quickly rallied as Aldridge stayed hot, but defensive breakdowns prevented progress. Here was a recap of the Warriors: Open three. Swish. Open Curry three. Swish. Open Curry three. Swish. OPEN FREAKIN CURRY THREE. SWISH. GET A MAN ON THAT GUY. At one point, the Warriors actually swished an open three-pointer that didn't count due to stepping on the sideline. The quarter ended with an ugly 22-10 GSW run gave them a 6 point lead. Stephen Curry went 6-7 on three-pointers. Guess which one of those was guarded?
David Lee pushes the lead to 10 to start the Fourth as the the Blazer fans start melting down. The Blazers fight back, shutting down Curry, but David Lee heated up in return, including a few lucky bounces. The Blazers closed to within three points, but did not have enough left in the tank to make a final run.
Don't bother reading the box score, but hang out here if you dare. Later, Dave will have a no-doubt very interesting recap. The Blazers get a night off, then are back in action Friday, at home against Phoenix.