With an ugly and embarrassing loss to the Golden State Warriors earlier in the season fresh on their minds, the Portland Trail Blazers were looking to make amends tonight. In a sense, they did exactly that, hanging with the Warriors for the entire game. But, Golden State simply had more in the tank in the end and, despite a brilliant first half by CJ McCollum, the Blazers fall short in Oakland.
The Blazers were led by CJ McCollum with 35 points. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry with 35 and Kevin Durant with 30.
The Warriors came out throwing long-distance haymakers, hitting 8 of their first 11 shots, However, the Blazers exhibited signs of the scrappiness we remembered from way back in 2016 and weren’t about to lay down like their last visit to Oakland. Portland kept things close by keeping faith in their newly constructed defense, some clutch shooting by CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe, and the eventual cooling of the Warriors offense.
The home team opened the second quarter looking to put Portland away, the Warrior lead sprouting to 13 in the blink of an eye. But then the improbable happened, or rather, McCollum happened. The Blazers went on a 15-2 tear with CJ leading the charge along contributions by Crabbe and Evan Turner. However, the Warriors showed how important it is to close quarters and ended the half on their own run, cutting the lead to just two. McCollum had 26 points for the Blazers, Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 21. The Blazers had zero(!) turnovers in the second quarter.
Halftime: Portland 71, Golden State 69
The Warriors put the clamps on McCollum in the third period, sending the lengthy Durant and Klay Thompson to shut him down. McCollum would have to sit early after committing his fourth foul. From there, the Blazers didn’t know what to do and the Warriors’ lead was back up to double digits along with the return of those unsightly Blazers turnovers.
The Warriors continued to swat at the Blazers like gnats, and like gnats the road invaders didn’t go away. The Blazers kept things close in the fourth, answering every Warriors run. Down just six with four minutes remaining, the Blazers simply didn’t have enough firepower at the end of this road trip. Portland hangs around until the end, but fall short to the Warriors.
The Blazers return to the Moda Center tomorrow night for the season’s first showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. Tip off is at 7:30PM. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dan Marang.