Warriors Withstand Aldridge, Blazers, 99-88

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers thrilled the Rose Garden crowd and scared the Golden State Warriors, before finally coming up short down the stretch. In the process, both teams cemented their positioning, but for different goals.

The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who returned for the final game of the season and dominated the Golden State front line to the tune of 30 points and 21 rebounds. Lillard wowed the crowd in his last game as a rookie, finishing with 21 points. Will Barton's nice stretch run closed with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

First, let's get the big news out of the way: The Philadephia 76ers and Toronto Raptors somewhat-unexpectedly won their season finales earlier in the day. Combined with this Blazer loss, this changes the draft completely. First, the Blazers are now locked into the 10th pick of the draft, something that was unthinkable only a few weeks ago. And second, by reaching #10, they also now have the #40 pick in the second round, which was top-40 protected. All of these positions are still dependent on the results of the draft lottery.

Of course, the biggest story of the night was the 750 kids sent to this game by the readers of Blazer's Edge. These are kids who don't get to see the Blazers in person much, if ever. So, win or lose, the kids got to see Aldridge score with ease, Lillard swishing a three (and receiving his Rookie of the Month award), and a new NBA record by a member of the Warriors. Not too shabby. I'm sure Dave will have more about this later. Back to the game...

First Quarter: Despite Aldridge's return, Golden State ran out to an early 8 point lead. However, Aldridge scored 12 of the first 14 Blazer points to close the deficit to one, as Golden State missed far more shots than normal. But the Warriors used their inside advantage, and a little Jarrett Jack, to keep their lead. Score: Warriors 24, Blazers 17.

I hope blazers win this game then win the battle for lottery for the 10th pick =)
by BlazerPhilippines

Second Quarter: Here comes Will Barton again! He scored 5 quick points to the Blazers stayed close. However, the Warriors weren't going to miss shots forever, and when Stephen Curry hit a three-pointer to break Ray Allen's NBA record, they took a 10 point lead. But the Mychal Thompson curse reappears, as his son Klay took over to push the lead to 15. Lillard reached double-figures just before the horn, but the Blazer chances looked bleak. Score: Warriors 50, Blazers 36

It may be my fiancee's birthday, but we are still watching the game tonight!
What do you say, is she a keeper?
by Respect_these_years

Third Quarter: The Warriors still couldn't put the Blazers away, as the starters closed the gap from 14 to 7. Lillard and Aldridge were increasingly unstoppable. And the Warriors were uncharacteristically cold from the field. As the clock ran down, Pavlovic shot a three... and hit it! The Blazers were right in the thick of the game! Score: Warriors 66, Blazers 63.

I'm so torn. I want to win hella bad but I want to lose hella bad.
by cavejunctionblazer

Fourth Quarter: The Blazers rookies took over the game. It looked bad as the Warriors bumped the lead back to 7, but the rooks pulled the Blazers back to within three. But, well, let's put this delicately: The decision was made to not bring LaMarcus Aldridge back into the ball game. From there, the Blazers didn't have enough firepower to keep up with the Warriors, who pulled away down the stretch for the win they desperately needed, while the Blazers did not.

I'm so happy and [angry] right now.
by cavejunctionblazer

Box score | Portland Trail Blazers tickets via TiqIQ

Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight, including Ben's last Media Row Report of the season, and plenty of perspective from Dave.

And after this, well... it's over right? Far from it, it's just beginning. We'll have season and player recaps, gameday threads for the draft lottery and draft night, then the huge free agent season and Summer League. Lots to discuss! --Tim

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