The Portland Trail Blazers, with everyone questioning their fortitude, came into Oakland tonight and stole a victory over the Golden State Warriors, 93-91. With a breath of relief, the Blazers can now prepare for their third game in a row tomorrow night.
Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers were led by Gerald Wallace with 24 points (including 4-4 from three and 8-8 free throws), 6 rebounds and 2 steals. He was supported by Nicolas Batum (17 points, 2 steals), Marcus Camby (12 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists) and Jamal Crawford (14 points, including a killer three-pointer and the last 5 points of the game).
Before the crowd had a chance to file in, the Warriors already led 7-0 in the first quarter. The story continued from last game: confused offense, awful defense. The Warriors shot 57% from the field, hit 3 of 3 three-pointers, and out-rebounded Portland 15-5, to absorb a Blazer comeback and take a 7 point lead after one.
Golden State quickly moved to 5-5 from three to take a 12 point lead early in the second. However, then the Blazers picked their game up. First they shut down the boards. Then Batum hit a 4 point play. Soon, it was a 15-4 run to cut the lead to 1. A Crawford layup tied the game, and soon a Crash three gave the Blazers the lead. Seconds later, another Wallace three bumped the lead to 4. A little back and forth led to a 3 point lead at halftime.
62 seconds into the second half, Golden State quickly regained the lead, and Nate quickly called timeout. Afterward, the teams played back and forth with few turnovers all quarter, as Batum took on the alpha role for the team. Eventually, the Blazers closed the quarter with a 2 point lead. Both teams saw their scoring and shooting percentages fall back to earth, combining for only 31 points.
This may sound familiar... Golden State quickly regained the lead in the fourth. The Blazers stayed close, despite some sloppy play. However, while they couldn't pull back into the lead, they stayed with 3 points. Unfortunately, a really bad bounce fell right into David Lee's hands, leading to a three point play and a 5 point lead. Before the Warriors could catch their breath though, Camby and Wallace (another three!) tied the game with under 2 minutes left. Felton then missed a jumper (a running theme all night), and Curry gave the Warriors the lead with two free throws. Then Crawford came up big, nailing a contested three-pointer [see the video!] for a one point lead with 1 minute left. However, Camby fouled Nate Robinson, who hit a FT to tie the game with 50 seconds left. Crawford was then fouled on a nice drive to regain the two point lead. Robinson (hot all night) finally missed, giving the Blazers a rebound and a chance to run down the clock to single digits. Crawford went ISO but missed a jumper. With a chance to tie, Robinson drove to the hoop but lost the ball to seal the win.
Check out the box score, then stay tuned for Dave's recap. We're right back in action tomorrow night on TNT, at home against the Clippers. -- Tim