The Portland Trail Blazers ruined the return of Draymond Green tonight, pasting a 123-98 loss on the Golden State Warriors. They didn’t let Steph Curry look great either. Golden State’s MVP shot 4-12 from distance and the Warriors’ veterans were no match for the starting guards of the Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 34 and CJ McCollum 28 as the Blazers bolted out of the gate quickly and never looked back.
Have you ever been in a remote, winter cabin, getting up for breakfast, hearing the sound of bacon and sausage frying in a cast iron skillet? Yeah, the Blazers were sizzling like that in the first quarter of this game. Their first FIVE made shots were three-pointers. Everyone but Damian Lillard hit one. THEN Lillard got aggressive and started cutting to the hoop. That opened up the arc even more. CJ McCollum took full advantage, scoring SIXTEEN in the first quarter alone. Hulk may smash, but even he was shaking his head saying, “Too far, Blazers. Too far...” as Portland led 36-21 after one.
The Warriors countered with small-ball in the second, taking advantage of bigger, slower Portland defenders. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre scored big, while Steph Curry engaged in sleight of hand, drawing fouls and putting in trick shots. Carmelo Anthony stroked from the perimeter but few other Blazers could. Portland’s lead remained big, though: 67-55 at the half.
The Warriors continued to play fast in the third. Portland’s true bigs had trouble keeping pace. But every time Golden State threatened, Lillard or McCollum would take over and put the Blazers back ahead by 15+, converting layups and even more triples. The Warriors couldn’t stop them and couldn’t score enough to overcome the large deficit. Portland led by 18 after three and coasted to the finish.
STATS Portland feasted on threes tonight. The long ball gave them the lead in the first place and put them ahead again every time the Warriors closed. The Blazers shot 20-43 (46.5%) from range. Meanwhile the Warriors went 7-35 (20%). That alone made the difference.
Portland’s centers just aren’t faring well right now. Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter are a turnover or foul waiting to happen. They aren’t fast enough on defense either. Give or take a screen or a flurry of rebounds, there’s just not a lot to recommend them right now. This is a crack in the rotation that the Blazers are going to need to patch.
Lillard’s 34-point total pushed him past the 15,000 point mark for his career.
Green had 0 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in his return, playing 18 minutes. Rookie center James Wiseman left the game in the fourth with a sprained ankle.
Stay tuned for our extended analysis of the game to follow!
The Blazers will face the Warriors again on Sunday at 5:30, Pacific.