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Anfernee Simons Threes Can’t Carry Blazers over Warriors

Portland’s young guard almost matched Steph Curry from the arc, but couldn’t lift his team over bad defense.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Golden State Warriors tonight 118-103, an outcome that dropped Portland’s road record this season to 1-9 and their overall record to 10-10. All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, led by Steph Curry with 32 points. Anfernee Simons led the Blazers with 19, courtesy of 5-10 three-point shooting.

If you missed the game (and you may have been lucky doing so), you can find our quarter by quarter recap here. After that, here are a few others factors determining the outcome.

Defensive Woes Continue

Smart money says the Warriors read the scouting report coming into this game and decided the easiest way to beat Portland would be to take it to the rim. Their vaunted three-point attack actually looked mediocre much of the night, give or take a couple Curry Flurries. But the lane was always open for them and they took full advantage...driving, converting layups, or grabbing offensive rebounds against a broken-down Portland defense.

Golden State isn’t the first team to score with success in the lane against the Blazers, but they seemed to delight in skewering their opponent with passes deep into the interior. Portland’s “D” was like a bad blind date: total lack of recognition initially, didn’t hang around long in any case.

Every time the Blazers made a serious run, the Warriors shut it down with simple plays into layups.

The Warriors ended up shooting 54.0% from the field. That made up for their relatively-humble 32.4% rate from the arc. Who needs threes when you can score 64 in the paint?

Nurk Surge

Once again Portland’s starting guards shot poorly tonight. Lillard went 5-15, 2-7 from the arc while McCollum shot 6-17 and 3-6. The Warriors had both clocked.

Norman Powell was having a fine night, scoring 15 on 6-9 shooting, but he left the game with an injury in the third period and didn’t return.

Jusuf Nurkic stepped up for the second game in a row, scoring 17 points in 24 minutes, but he only had 4 rebounds. Nurkic wasn’t able to help enough with interior defense tonight, partly because Portland’s scheme takes him outside and partially because he’s Jusuf Nurkic. His huge nights are nice, but the team isn’t winning right now even with fully-functional Nurk at the center of play.

Paging the Bench

At times this season, we’ve said the Blazers bench looks sick. Overall tonight, they just looked sick. Through three quarters—by which time the Blazers had already dug a 20-point hole—Portland’s reserves shot a collective 2-12, scoring just 8 points. Nassir Little had defensive moments, as usual. Simons hit a slew of threes in the fourth. They still couldn’t make up for the overall preponderance of suck.

Come to think of it, that pretty much describes the entire game. The Blazers will want to get past this as soon as possible, so we will too.

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Stay tuned for updates on Powell’s condition.

Portland will get two days to think about what they could have done better in the last two games before facing the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday night at 6:00 PM, Pacific.