Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant overpowered the Portland Trail Blazers in a 107-96 victory in their final game of preseason play. They finish with a record of 6-1, winning all except their first game back against the Toronto Raptors.
During the off-season, I wrote about the Warriors’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 27th. In that game, Curry and Durant had a magnificent 3-point duel, leading to an exciting Warriors win in overtime. I told everyone to imagine that game if you swapped Durant and Harrison Barnes. Well, we don’t have to imagine anymore.
Tonight, Curry and Durant held an encore performance, only this time as teammates. Curry scored 35 points, going 8-13 from downtown. Durant, who had a spectacular run of back-to-back-to-back 3s in the third quarter alone, scored 28 points with 5-8 made 3s. Together they scored half of the team’s points for the night.
And yet, it was almost not enough.
Local boy Damian Lillard (whose debut album just dropped today) kicked off the game with a jump shot, setting up the Blazers for a strong run in the first. The Warriors struggled with turnovers and missed shots and got steamrolled on defense. Mason Plumlee was scoring like he forgot what position he plays. Curry had a strong quarter, but aside from him, most of the Warriors points came on free throws.
Curry and Ian Clark each made 3-point shots to bring the Warriors within striking distance, something they hadn’t had in the game so far.
In the second quarter, Clark continued to be hot, kicking things off with another 3-pointer and an impressive block. Durant was issued his first technical foul as a Warrior while sitting on the bench, after mouthing off about a foul call.
Shortly afterwards, Allen Crabbe shoulder-checked Draymond Green and they had a bit of a shoving match, with Zaza Pachulia intervening, using his height to contain the oftentimes fiery Green.
Curry had a series of impressive 3s:
That, combined with a spectacular out of bounds alley-oop from Durant and Andre Iguodala, helped close the first half with a one-point lead.
After trailing by as much as 16 points, the Warriors came back in the third quarter to take a commanding lead, mostly due to the 3-point stylings of Durant and Curry. They entered the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead, which the Blazers chipped away at, getting within six points as Warriors head coach Steve Kerr left the second unit in to close out the game. But they held on and managed to finish off the final game of the preseason with a win.
Aside from Curry, Durant and Clark - this was not a very good night for the Warriors. There were a lot of missed shots and sloppy ball handling that led to turnovers. With the offensive performance we saw from the top two stars, this game had no business being as close as it was, but the Blazers came with their A-game and managed to keep it competitive until the end.
Klay Thompson was cold for most of the game, though he did make some good-instinct plays, such as in the third quarter where he went for an offensive rebound and forced a foul call. Similarly, Green only scored four points, but as usual, he seemed to be everywhere. with 11 rebounds and six assists.
Ian Clark was the low-key hero of the night, scoring 17 points in just under 18 minutes on the court, going 7-11 from the field and putting in some work on defense.
Overall, it was a fun game and it gave us a look at what we’re going to be seeing for the rest of the season.
Next up for the Warriors is Opening Night on Tuesday, October 25th, at Oracle against the San Antonio Spurs.