The Golden State Warriors have avoided a humiliating loss against the Portland Trail Blazers at Chase Center on Wednesday night, overcoming a double-digit third-quarter deficit to claim a 110-106 victory.
After being a controversial and somewhat surprising omission from the rotation in the first-half, Jonathan Kuminga provided the spark as Steve Kerr had no choice but to find another avenue of energy in a placid performance through two-and-a-half quarters.
Jonathan Kuminga had 13 points in the second-half, with he and Stephen Curry providing the impetus in a much-needed Golden State Warriors win
The third-year forward had an immediate impact, grabbing a steal and going the length of the floor for a slam within his first minute. It catapulted a 10-0 Golden State run after the found themselves down 11, with Stephen Curry finding his range after a slow start to produce a 17-point third-quarter.
Despite the two-time MVP's brilliance, the Warriors would have to wait till the 8:55 mark of the final period to take the lead for the first time in the game. The Trail Blazers, led by young guards Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe, responded to go back up six, but they were then limited to just eight points over the last five-and-a-half minutes.
Curry returned to close out the game, nailing the dagger three over Simons to give Golden State a four-point lead with nine seconds remaining. The 35-year-old finished with 31 points, 22 of which came in the second-half.
Kuminga was the major storyline though, with his future well and truly on the agenda at half-time having been overlooked for rookie guard Brandin Podziemski among others. His fortunes would drastically shift in the second-half, playing all but one second of the final 16:45 of the game.
The 21-year-old finished with 13 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting, giving the Warriors a scoring threat at the rim against a Trail Blazers team playing without their two main bigs in Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III.
Earlier in the game, it was Moses Moody who brought a lone spark to a docile Golden State effort in the first-half. The third-year wing had an equal team-high nine points on 4-6 shooting, but the Warriors were limited to 48 points thanks to 33.3% shooting and 10 turnovers.
Andrew Wiggins and Chris Paul were quiet in their returns from a two-way absence. The former closed the game alongside Curry, Klay Thompson, Kuminga and Draymond Green, yet finished with just nine points and three rebounds on 3-12 shooting. Paul played less than 21 minutes off the bench, scoring just two points to go with three rebounds and six assists.
Draymond Green provided consistent effort with a near triple-double -- 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Dario Saric added another 13 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Moody finished with 12.
The Warriors now move to 10-11 on the season ahead of a four-game road-trip. That starts with the fourth and final meeting against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Friday.