Outscored 40-21 in the third quarter, the Golden State Warriors win with ease over the Portland Trail Blazers 127-104. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 31 points. Golden State was led by Steph Curry with 28 points. But the story of the night became the electric debut of Blazers rookie Jake Layman.
The Blazers came out of the gate looking to make an early statement against the Warriors, but if your name wasn’t Damian Lillard, you weren’t making much of any noise besides the occasional turnover. Damian Lillard flat out brung it, scoring 13 and lifting Portland to an early advantage. Evan Turner came off the bench and still had that look of a deer staring into the headlights of a car being driven by a grizzly bear with Hugh Glass tied to the hood. Despite an early 17-4 lead by the Blazers, the Warriors owned the latter half of the quarter, outscoring Portland 20-4 to finish. Ian Clark, off the Warriors bench, scored 11. Great start, bad finish.
End of First: Portland 25, Golden State 34
If your going to beat the Warriors, you need to limit turnovers and play stout defense. Portland finished the half with 10 turnovers and Ian Clark continued to mimic Steph Curry against the Blazers D; the Warriors shot 52% for the half. Evan Turner showed some signs of life on offense, contributing 11 points, but his three turnovers continued to prove that his learning curve under coach Stotts has a Brad Stevens shaped arc. After the Warriors built a 51-41 lead, Portland made a bit of a resurgence as Lillard continued to lift Portland offensively, scoring 22 in the half. Ian Clark, yes that Ian Clark, led the Warriors with 16. He’s the real MVP.
Halftime: Portland 53, Golden State 59
As if Halloween was extended another day, the Warriors carved up Portland’s defense in the third. Steph Curry held the biggest knife of all, as he cleaved through the Blazers’ guards with five(!)three pointers and a circus shot here and there for good measure. Lillard and CJ McCollum tried to keep Portland in the game, but by then the Pandora’s Box of Warriors offense had been left wide open. Down by 13, McCollum drained back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 7. And that was the end of the good times. A lapse in defense and a turnover later turned it right back into a double digit lead for the warriors and it was all downhill from there. Third quarters have not been friendly to the Blazers this season and this was by far no exception.
End of Third: Portland 72, Golden State 100(,000)
Despite a 28-point lead and the Warriors already hitting the century mark, there was still a quarter of basketball to be played. There was some dribbling and shooting and basketball-type stuff going on, but nothing much changed except for some prolonged garbage time minutes. Jake Layman in his debut, making the very most of his time on the court, made me feel something besides sadness. On to the next.
The Blazers won’t have much time to mull this one over as they are back at it tomorrow night to begin a 3-game road trip. First up is the winless Phoenix Suns. Tip off is at 7 pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Eric Griffith.