The Warriors led the first half from nearly the opening tip, staying ahead by single digits throughout. The Blazers sabotaged every attempted surge with sloppy play and turnovers. The good news was that Golden State couldn't take advantage, holding a 7 point lead due to a last-second Stephen Curry three-pointer. In the second half, the Warriors quickly pushed the lead into 11 , only for Damian Lillard to take over, sparking the Blazers as they scored 22 straight points to take their own 11-point lead. Golden State tried to come back, but just made a bunch of clanking sounds instead, and the Blazers' lead grew to 17 in the fourth quarter. In response, Warriors Coach Mark Jackson brought back his starters. In the preseason. Blazers Coach Terry Stotts returned the favor, and Aldridge and Batum returned to seal the victory.
Damian Lillard loves playing in Oakland, and it shows. He even had a few nice defensive moments. He finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Nicolas Batum continued to show his all-around game with another double-double. His 10 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists were a big factor tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge (16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks) didn't shoot well, but was a solid presence, as always.
Joel Freeland backed up the center position, tallying minimal stats (2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in 14 minutes) but showing some good stuff at the defensive end. This qualifies as trending because...
...Coach Stotts tightened the rotation tonight, and Meyers Leonard did not play until garbage time. Unless word comes down about an injury, it's an ominous sign for Meyers, who may have lost his spot in the rotation to the aforementioned Freeland. [Edit: Stotts has now confirmed this. Ben covers it in a separate article]
Speaking of garbage time, that's the only time we saw Victor Claver.
Will Barton started the game, but was replaced by Dorell Wright (who nearly made the trending list) as the third-quarter starter. With Dorell in the lineup, the Blazers immediately went on a run.
21 more turnovers. Ouch!
Opening night! The Blazers open in Phoenix on Wednesday Oct. 30. Over the next week, Blazer's Edge will have everything you need to know to be ready to start the season! -- Tim