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Re-energized Warriors dismantle Blazers

Golden State hands spiraling Portland their worst loss of the season in 45-point drubbing.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. — After playing with a noticeable lack of energy on Thursday against the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors made a point to have more pep in their step on Saturday night.

“We talked about it yesterday in our meeting,” Stephen Curry said, in reference to the Warriors’ increased level of energy versus the Blazers. “There was a point in the Knicks’ game where guys were kind of looking at each other just trying to manage or manufacture any kind of energy we could.”

To say that Golden State simply came out with energy is a bit of an understatement, as the offense hummed to the tune of a 39-point first quarter. Moreover, it truly takes a perfect storm to defeat a team by 45 in today’s NBA.

The Blazers were playing their fifth game in seven nights, with each of the five games taking place in a different city. As seen from the Warriors’ lack of energy the other night against the Knicks following a similar stretch of games, the NBA’s schedule can certainly take a toll on the teams.

While the Warriors have superior talent to weather such a unfavorable stretch, the Blazers do not have the same luxury, and the Warriors knew this.

Portland had lost five of their last six games heading into Saturday night’s contest versus Golden State, prompting Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant to see one of two scenarios playing out:

Either the Warriors come out flat, thus, giving the Blazers the necessary confidence early on that they would need to win the game. Or, the Warriors could come out and punch the Blazers in the mouth.

Kevin Durant chose the latter.

“We knew this team — they play hard all game,” Durant said, after the game. “But we also know after losing five of six in a row, if we come out early, they’ll start to lose confidence early.”

After jumping out to an early 6-0 lead, Golden State kept its foot on the gas pedal by not relinquishing their lead all game and earning their second wire-to-wire win of the season.

The Warriors controlled the glass, out rebounding the the Blazers by 25 — the largest rebounding differential by any team in the NBA this season.

But, even more promising on Saturday night, was the Warriors’ bench play. The Dubstitutes scored a season-high 59 points and were led by Ian Clark’s career-high 23 points.

Clark has increased his production this season thanks to more consistent playing time, and Head Coach Steve Kerr has taken notice.

“He’s kind of taken (Leandro) Barbosa’s role from last year. He’s playing with a lot of confidence,” Kerr said of Clark. But he wasn’t finished there.

“He’s really improved his in-between game. He makes a lot of float shots, puts the ball on the floor and he’s a very smart player. We are thrilled with Ian. He’s having a great year.”

While the Warriors are clearly stacked at the top of their roster, it is the back-end rotation players that can prove to be the ace hidden up the sleeve of Kerr and the Warriors come playoff time.

Game Notes

via Warriors PR

  • The Warriors are 89-6 (.937) in regular-season home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
  • Golden State is 76-1 (.987) in the regular season when holding the opposition to fewer than 100 points since the start of the 2014-15 season.
  • Golden State’s 45 point win over Portland is the largest margin of victory by any team in the NBA this season.
  • The Warriors dished out 36 assists, recording their 20th 30-assist game of the season — no other team has recorded more than five such games this season.
  • Ian Clark has scored 45 points on 17-of-19 from the field in two games against the Trail Blazers this year.
  • Kevin Durant scored 34 points on only 13 field-goal attempts (11-of-13 FG) and also recorded 11 rebounds — his third 30/10 game of the season.
  • JaVale McGee scored in double figures for the fourth time this season (second consecutive) with 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in 11 minutes.
  • Zaza Pachulia returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a right wrist contusion. Pachulia recorded four points and seven rebounds and one vicious shoulder that earned him a flagrant foul in 17 minutes of play.

Andrew Flohr is the credentialed writer for GSoM. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat.

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