The Portland Trail Blazers, who soared into the All-Star break on an unexpected four-game winning streak, came crashing back down to Earth with the resumption of play Thursday. Despite holding an early double-digit lead, they were soundly defeated by the Golden State Warriors by a score of 132-95 at Moda Center.
Eight different Warriors finished the game in double-figure scoring, led by the 18 points apiece from Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Anfernee Simons registered 24 points to lead the Blazers, with 21 coming in the first half. Portland scored just 38 points in the second half of the game, while Golden State scored 39 in the second quarter alone.
For a quarter-by-quarter breakdown, see our Instant Recap. The following were the key takeaways from Thursday’s action.
Poetry in Motion
After falling behind by ten points with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors seemingly flipped a switch and never looked back. They had 70 points by halftime, and at least 30 in every quarter. They accomplished this despite not a single player scoring more than 18 points. Golden State put on a clinic with their unselfish passing display, as 36 of their 45 made field goals came off of an assist. Curry led the charge with 14 dimes on his own, while Jordan Poole added six off the bench.
The inexperienced Blazers, also working in several new pieces, suffered through one defensive breakdown after another as the Warriors picked them apart with their own version of Hot Potato. Golden State shot only 36.6% from distance, but over 50% from the field overall. They did a ton of damage at the rim with the Blazers lacking any kind of interior presence in the wake of Jusuf Nurkic’s injury.
Anfernee Simons did his best to keep the Blazers afloat in the first half, scoring 20 of his 24 points before the halftime break. He was completely held in check in the second half, however, as the Warriors showed added defensive pressure on the emerging star. Nobody else could pick up the slack. Josh Hart had a solid start offensively, and Justise Winslow chipped in with 14 points, but Portland lacked any kind of offensive flow after the first quarter of the game. Once Simons cooled off, the offense was virtually nonexistent.
Two Blazers made their team debut, with newly signed Drew Eubanks earning the start at center. Eubanks, playing on a 10-day contract, is a former Oregon State Beaver and Portland area native. He failed to make much of an impact, though he did grab five rebounds over his 21 minutes. He was also the only Blazer to register a positive number in the plus/minus, clocking in at +7 for the game.
Rookie Keon Johnson, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Norman Powell trade, also appeared in a Portland uniform for the first time. In 17 minutes he grabbed four rebounds, and was 1-4 from the field. The lone make was an impressive one, however—a spinning drive to the rim.
Brandon Williams, who played two games for Portland in late December during their COVID outbreak, made his first appearance since being re-signed to the team on a two-way contract over the All-Star break. Williams fared the best of the trio, running Portland’s offense in the second unit. While he didn’t have an assist, he was 4-9 with 12 points. He showcased a versatile offensive game—scoring at the rim, in the midrange, and also connecting on his first career three-pointer.
The Blazers host Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT.