The Portland Trail Blazers’ season ended not with a whimper, but with a bang, as the Golden State Warriors exploded for 45 first quarter points and never look back, sweeping the Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference NBA Playoffs, and ending Portland’s season for the second year in a row.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 34 points and six assists. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry with 37 points and eight assists.
Here’s what you need to know about the first quarter: By the time Lamar Hurd was introducing his keys to the game on KGW, the Warriors were up 20-3. Golden State led by as much as 28 in what was an epically atrocious first quarter for the Blazers. The visiting team scored a club record 45 points in a playoff quarter, shooting 8-11 from three, 15-24 overall, in route to a 45-22 lead.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard was like that guy in the office working late on a Friday evening while the rest of his co-workers had already left for an early 5-month vacation. Lillard was the only player wearing white who was fully engaged and making any impact aside from some late contributions from Al-Farouq Aminu. Lillard’s 21 points in the half kept the Blazers from being laughed out of the gym, but Portland still trailed big at the half. Steph Curry had 21 to lead the Warriors in the first half.
Warriors are a cheat code. pic.twitter.com/yo5MgomcNr— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 25, 2017
Halftime: Portland 48, Golden State 72
Golden State never let up. The Warriors scored their 100th point near the end of the third quarter. Lillard continued to march alone for Portland, playing nearly every minute of the game despite it never being close. CJ McCollum seemed unusually lost, his spectral body occasionally appearing inside the Moda Center to hoist an errant shot. But, those were positives compared to the complete absence of Moe Harkless, Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe. Meyers Leonard got the start in the first half and rewarded his supporters with three rebounds.
Leading 106-80 after three, the Warriors put the final nails in the coffin early. McCollum finally got on the board in fourth, breaking an 0-9 drought. But, it was all way too little and way too late as the Warriors complete the sweep and end the Blazers’ season. Lillard played 42 straight minutes before being taken out of the game, earning a nice standing ovation from the crowd for his effort.
Some soul searching and the draft! Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard and Eric Griffith.