The Golden State Warriors needed this win badly, for a number of reasons.
For one, they had lost five of their last seven games, including three straight at home. And second, and perhaps more importantly, they needed to put together a strong defensive effort, given that they had allowed 120-plus points to opponents in three of their last five games.
The Warriors answered both concerns on Sunday night, beating the Portland Trail Blazers soundly 103-88 in front a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena. Stephen Curry lead the way once again with 38 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, and was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. His three-pointer with 1:49 remaining put the Warriors (27-18) ahead 99-86 and squelched a late Portland comeback attempt.
Golden State held the Trail Blazers (33-12) to just 33.7 percent shooting and 88 points, which is extremely impressive considering that Portland is the NBA’s highest scoring team at 109.3 points per game. David Lee played tough defense on LaMarcus Aldridge all night, and Aldridge was essentially a non-factor, finishing with 10 points on 2-of-14 shooting. The Warriors also held Damian Lillard to 16 points, and Nicolas Batum to just five points.
It had the look of a high-scoring affair at halftime, as the Blazers actually led 55-54 heading into the locker room. Portland scored 33 points in the second quarter, erasing a solid start by the Warriors.
However, the Warriors dominated the third quarter. More precisely, they dominated defensively, and capitalized on turnovers. The Blazers did not make as single field goal for the first five minutes of the quarter, and as a matter of fact, they made three baskets the entire quarter and scored a total of 12 points. The Warriors outscored the Trail Blazers 22-12 in the quarter and took a 76-67 lead into the fourth, where they promptly began on a 12-2 run to take a 22-point lead and control of the game.
For a team that has played and lost so many tight games as of late, it must have felt good to win in a more relaxed manner.
Tale of the Tape
- Field Goals: 41.8% (38-91)
- 3-Pointers: 40.0% (10-25)
- Rebounds: 51
- Assists: 22
- Turnovers: 9
- Field Goals: 38.7% (28-83)
- 3-Pointers: 28.6% (6-21)
- Rebounds: 54
- Assists: 16
- Turnovers: 14
The Green Effect
The story of the game was the Warriors’ strong defensive effort, but one particular sidenote was the underrated yet consistent play of Draymond Green. Green’s stat line is rather unimpressive: two points, 6 rebounds, and a steal in 18 minutes.
But, he did lead all Warriors reserves with a plus-minus rating of plus-12, and did plenty of dirty work that does not show up on any stat sheet. In fact, he was the first substitute off the bench in the second half instead of Harrison Barnes, who typically is the first bench player to come in.
This shows that a) Barnes is scuffling and Mark Jackson’s patience may be running a little bit thin, and b) Green deserves a more prominent role.
Tweet of the Night
In the Warriors commercial RT @BASportsGuy: When was the last time Harrison Barnes dunked?
— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) January 27, 2014
Just for Kicks
Klay Thompson went to Hooters on Saturday night, and he seemed to enjoy the company of a #FullSquad:
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will take on John Wall and the Wizards at home on Tuesday night. In fact, the Wizards already arrived in the Bay Area on Sunday, so they will be well-rested.
Tags: Golden State Warriors