The Portland Trail Blazers needed to lose the final game of their 2022-23 season to ensure the 5th-worst record in the NBA and corresponding odds in the 2023 NBA Lottery drawing. And this game delivered like the Easter Bunny. Portland fell to the Golden State Warriors 157-101, giving up record-setting point production in the process.
Shaedon Sharpe scored 18 in the game, finishing his season in high style. Skylar Mays added 21. steph Curry led the Warriors with 26. You really don’t want more stats than that. Instead let’s put this one, and the season, to bed so we can emerge from the tank and consider Portland’s (hopefully brighter) future.
Klay Thompson announced his intentions early, taking Steph Curry’s place as Big Shooter in the lineup as he as so many times before in Portland. This time Curry was actually playing, but Thompson still scored the first three buckets of the game, a pair of threes among them. When he hit his third triple with a little more than 120 seconds gone in the game, the Warriors led 13-4.
Then Thompson hit ANOTHER one.
Head Coach Chauncey Billups called a timeout at that point, with 9:36 remaining and his team down 16-6.
Portland came out of the timeout firing, with Trendon Watford, Shaedon Sharpe, and Jeenathan Williams all striking, cutting the lead to 18-14. But Thompson put a cap on that, hitting yet another triple. Then Curry hit one and the lead was back to 10 again. Skylar Mays struck from deep too, but that was like throwing sand at a cement wall. You’d have to do it for quite a while to do any damage.
Soon after, Jordan Poole joined the party, hitting a three, then receiving a pass in the exact same spot after Gary Payton II stole Portland’s inbound pass. Poole hit the second three too. And Curry hit another.
Perhaps you’re noticing a pattern here.
We’ll skip the rest of the gross details. By the time the period was done, Golden State had hit 12 of 18 three-pointers and owned a 55-27 lead. That set a new record for the most points scored in a first period in NBA history.
The Warriors started the second period just kind of goofing off. They passed up layup opportunities to kick the ball out for long threes. Portland gained a little bit back on the margin, but Golden State hit enough shots to keep it un-serious. The lead actually expanded to 30 by the 9:00 mark.
The lead got even wider as the quarter progressed. Portland did ok generating shots, but they couldn’t cover the arc, couldn’t rebound, and didn’t take care of the ball that well. The end result was an 84-53 lead for the Warriors at the half. Shaedon Sharpe had 15 at that point. Let’s just concentrate on that.
If you want more of a recap than this, you are a true sicko. Suffice it to say that Portland didn’t catch up. Instead of boring you with the details, let’s just say that Golden State passed the 100 mark with 7:00 left in the third. Their lead reached 50 with 9:00 remaining in the fourth. We’ll follow that up with a hearty, “Yay, Shaedon!” for all the points in the past couple weeks. Then I’m going to go record a podcast about the season’s end and what’s next. That’s probably a more productive use of all of our time than explaining how Portland lost by an entire half’s worth of points.
The season is now complete. Portland owns the 5th-worst record in the NBA. We’ll share the odds that gives them in the upcoming NBA lottery drawing in our extended analysis, posting right after this.
Thank you to our entire team of game previewers, recappers, and analysts who brought you coverage of the season from the first game to the last. Tenured readers will know that when the season winds down, Blazer’s Edge amps up. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for player reviews, critical questions heading into the summer, and more information about the salary cap, draft, and trade possibilities than you can shake a stick at.