The Warriors again prove to be too much in the fourth quarter as Stephen Curry again delivers the knockout blow. The Blazers fought every minute of this game, but their season comes to an end with a 125-121 defeat that should make fans proud of Portland's effort. The Warriors advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 28 and CJ McCollum with 27. The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson with 33 points, Steph Curry had 29.
The birthday boy, Maurice Harkless, came out firing away, helping the Trail Blazers to an early 12-8 lead; both teams came out shooting well enough but it was the Blazers hitting the threes early and often as Golden State misfired on their first few attempts. Klay Thompson got two early fouls and hit the bench four minutes into the game. Portland seemed to sense opportunity in the water and ran off a 10-0 run to take an 18-8 lead. The Warriors seemingly got to every loose ball and deflection to go on their own run to trim the lead to 20-17, including a Steph Curry baseline three to get the crowd going for the first time. After starting the quarter hot, the Blazers cooled like they had just been dunked into the Arctic Sea and the Warriors began hammering Portland inside the paint and smothering them defensively. However, the Blazers found some semblance of offense late and took the lead heading into the second. Damian Lillard led Portland with 12 in the quarter. Off the bench, Leandro Barbosa had 6 for the Warriors.
End of First: Portland 30, Golden State 27
The Blazers opened up with a 5-0 spurt and eventually took another eight point lead. The Warriors sent Draymond Green back into the came and immediately caused problems any time a Blazer went near the basket. Klay's three with seven minutes remaining cleaved the lead back to just three. But, the Blazers refused to bow down; an Al-Farouq Aminu three that sailed in the air for a good 2 minutes before banking off the glass and in gave Portland back a double-digit lead at 49-38. Klay got hot late in the period and put the Warriors within four with just over three minutes remaining, he had 13 in the quarter. The Blazers answered every run the Warriors threw at them in a game that was getting more hotly contested as the minutes wore on. The half ended a nice defensive stop by Lillard on Klay and the Blazers held on to the lead heading into the second half. Lillard had 21 at the half for the Blazers, Klay had 17 for the Warriors. Of note, Andrew Bogut limped into the locker room with an apparent leg injury.
Halftime: Portland 63, Golden State 58
The Blazers were battling and fighting but the Warriors kept chipping away at Portland's lead. Curry's three at the seven minute mark finally gave Golden State the lead at 75-73, turnovers and sub-par shooting, thanks to an unrelenting Warriors defense, crippling Portland. But, as the Blazers have done all season long, they battled back, refusing to go gently into that good night. Both teams traded baskets like trading cards in a high octane few minutes that say Klay go nuts and Allen Crabbe answer for the Blazers. Brian Roberts, yes that Brian Roberts, gave Portland a one point lead with 15 seconds remaining, but Steph Curry answered at the other end with a three, because he's Steph Curry. In a highly entertaining third quarter, the Warriors took the lead and Portland had one last quarter to save their season.
End of Third: Portland 91, Golden State 93
With Steph and Klay out to begin the quarter, the Blazers failed to make any ground. In fact, they loss ground as they let the likes of Marreeese Speights get hot with open lay-ins and threes. Aminu, knocking them down earlier, couldn't buy a bucket and suddenly the Blazers were danger of finally succumbing to the Warriors. As in previous games, Golden State doubled Lillard every time in the fourth and again Lillard couldn't get anything going and the Warriors pushed their lead to seven with half a quarter to play. Portland again refused to quit, however, and pulled within one with less than four to play on a CJ McCollum three. Moments later, McCollum answered a Curry dagger from deep and the Blazers were still within striking distance in the final moments. McCollum, though missing a critical free throw, cut the lead to two with just over a minute left. With a chance to tie, Lillard misses a contested jumper with over 30 seconds left. That left Curry to put the final nail in the Blazes coffin, draining a three to put the Warriors up 5 with 24 seconds left. The Blazers can't answer and the Warriors advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.