The Portland Trail Blazers got to see what a championship-caliber team looks like when it hosted the Golden State Warriors Friday at the Moda Center. However, that experience came at the price of a 128-108 beatdown, in which the defending champs shot 53% from the field and scored on 36 assists.
Damian Lillard scored a season-high 40 points, and dished 10 assists, but shot only 12-27 and didn't get much from his supporting cast. CJ McCollum fought through an off-night, shooting 7-23 for 17 points. Klay Thompson went off for 36 points, including 7-10 from downtown, Draymond Green tallied yet another triple-double (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) and Stephen Curry kept doing what he does with 28 points and 9 assists.
It couldn't have started much worse for Portland, as the Blazers missed its first eight shots and quickly fell into an early 12-2 hole. Curry opened the contest with a stepback three-pointer, and later scored on back-to-back fast-break layups to push the defecit even further to 22-6.
Lillard started to find his stroke midway through the period, connecting on a three and finding clever ways to get his shot off in traffic, including a nice hesitation driving dunk on Shaun Livingston. Still, it was a struggle to even hold serve, as the rest of Portland's shooters remained ice cold.
Meanwhile, Thompson started to find his own groove, catching fire draining five threes, and adding to it a buzzer-beating fadeaway to end the quarter en route to 19 points.
End of First: Portland 21, Golden State 38
The second unit came roaring back - Maurice Harkless opened the period with a three, and finally getting some stops at the defensive end, steals led to buckets by McCollum and Allen Crabbe to somehow creep back to within single-digits at 40-32.
The success was short-lived, as the Warriors quickly rallied back to regain a large lead. Even guys like Ian Clark were getting in on the action, hitting a pair threes as Golden State moved the ball with precision. The Moda Center Crowd, with an opposing fan count approaching Lakers numbers, could revel in just about everything road team did.
Thompson checked back in and picked up right where he left off, scoring with ease. His sixth three of the night extended a 22-point lead and the Warriors could do no wrong.
Halftime: Portland 52, Golden State 74
The Blazer backcourt finally started to make some noise during the third quarter - LIllard hit his first three and it seemed to boost his confidence. He found McCollum for an open three on the next possession, and then scored five straight to chunk the defecit to 13 at 78-65.
The run was quickly answered by - guess who - Thompson, who responded with five straight of his own to restore order. Brandon Rush's three pushed the Warriors back up by 23, and then extended it to 25 a minute later at 92-67.
And back and forth they went - Lillard found McCollum for another three, Al-Farouq Aminu found his stroke from deep and the Blazers refused to die.
Lillard would go on to set a season high, but Portland together shot only 40% from the field and that is just not good enough against a team like this. Dame would play deep into the fourth, but the effort was clearly in vain. The Warriors are a good basketball team, and they played like one tonight.
It's not getting much easier - Portland will host Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the surging Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night at 6 p.m. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Eric Griffith.
-- Ryan Rosback | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
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