"Whoa, whoa, whoa guys. We almost won that one."
In a game that ESPN probably regretted scheduling, the Portland Trail Blazers held off the hard-working Golden State Warriors. Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers relied on unlikely heroes to carry the day.
Jamal Crawford's huge 34 points led Portland, along with a good night from replacement-starter JJ Hickson, who scored 23 points with 13 boards. Nicolas Batum (14 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks), Raymond Felton (16 points, 10 assists) and Wesley Matthews (18 points) also factored into the game, and Joel Przybilla (14 rebounds) dominated the boards. For the youngsters, Luke Babbitt hit a few shots for 6 points, and Jonny Flynn, whose minutes have floundered, completely fell out of the rotation.
The Blazers led by 7 at halftime. Three players dominated the first half: Crawford, Hickson, and David Lee, who left everyone else in the dust. Portland maintained a small lead for most of the first half, and Golden State seemed content to simply stay within comeback range.
The second half began with some spread-out Blazer shooting, as Felton, Matthews and Batum helped the Blazers push the lead to double-digits. Crawford needed 30 seconds to bump the lead from 10 to 15. However, the Warriors brought the lead back down to 10 after three.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Golden State scored 10 straight points to tie the game. Hickson and Crawford kept the game close, but the W's realized the pick-and-roll was the Blazers' Kryptonite, and ran it repeatedly while a frustrated Przybilla got a front-row view of layups. However, once the Warriors went away from the pick and roll, Felton helped the Blazers regain a 5 point lead with 4 minutes left. Batum's three with 2 minutes left maintained the lead. Klay Thompson cut it to two with a minute left, but Matthews quickly hit a jumper in response. Now a two-possession game, the Warriors missed then let the Blazers run the clock down, ending with a Matthews three-pointer with 15 seconds left. With a 7 point lead, the game was over.