Less than 24 hours after Steve Kerr bluntly stated that Stephen Curry had carried the Golden State Warriors this season, it was the two-time MVP's teammates that had to come to the rescue against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Following 37 points including 16 in the fourth-quarter against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Curry was kept to a staggering seven points on 2-12 shooting in Portland. More notable was the fact the 35-year-old's historic 268 consecutive regular season games with a made three came to and end, with Curry unable to connect on any of his eight attempts from beyond the arc.
Under fire duo Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins provided the impetus in the Golden State Warriors' 118-114 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers
While Curry's weekend performances couldn't have been more contrasting, there were some major similarities across both games. Like Saturday's game, Golden State led by 16 at half-time only to be challenged before eventually winning by four.
Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have been fairly criticized for the underwhelming play this season, but it was that duo and a pair of rookies that helped the Warriors withstand Curry's struggles and the Trail Blazers comeback.
Thompson continued his best stretch of the season with a team-high 28 points on 11-16 shooting and 5-10 from three-point range. Portland sensationally erased a 22-point deficit in the third-quarter, which could have been a whole lot worse for Golden State if not for the veteran shooting-guard's 13 points in the period.
Coming off the bench for the third-straight game, Wiggins had one of his best performances of the season with 25 points and seven rebounds in just over 29 minutes. The 28-year-old found his range from beyond the arc, making four of his six threes and finishing 9-12 from the floor overall.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, it was rookie pair Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis who provided huge plays down the stretch. The latter received first-half opportunity after foul trouble for Dario Saric, taking his opportunity which subsequently saw him earn over nine minutes in a tense fourth-quarter.
Jackson-Davis stuffed the box score with a career-high 14 points, along with eight rebounds (five offensive), three assists, two steals and a block in a hugely impressive performance. The 23-year-old's threat at the rim on both ends was important, opening up more question marks for Steve Kerr after starting center Kevon Looney was again limited to less than 15 minutes.
Golden State's first-round pick, Podziemski, saved the game in producing the most important play of the game. After Curry had missed a second free-throw to leave the lead at two, Podziemski stepped in front of a flying Shaedon Sharpe to draw an offensive charge on what could have been a game-tying layup. The 19th overall pick then sealed the game with two free-throws down the other end as he continues to build his growing reputation in an extraordinary rookie year.
The Warriors shot 52.9% from the floor but cooled off from three-point range after they put up 65 points in the first-half. The visitors also missed six of their 19 free-throw attempts, something they nearly came to rue after the Trail Blazers had tied the game in the second-half.
Golden State's propensity to blow leads was again on display all weekend, but at least on both occasions they were able to find a way against far younger and less experienced teams. Given Curry's play is hardly an issue going forward, the fact they found enough against Portland without their leader was fairly impressive.
The Warriors are now 12-14 on the season, with a blockbuster meeting with the league-leading Boston Celtics to come at Chase Center on Tuesday night.