Damian Lillard generously bought some 50 tickets for friends and family in Oakland, all eager to see him put on yet another show versus the reigning champions.
In the end, it was the other (approximately) 19,546 fans who got a show.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson re-earned their Splash Brothers moniker, ripping four three pointers apiece in the first quarter, alone. The Warriors guards dropped a personal highlight reel from there on, each finishing with 23 points in the first half (they splashed home 11 three pointers in the half, combined). Curry would end his night with 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting. Klay Thompson was slightly better, however, with 37 points and six rebounds, on just 22 shots.
Tonight, the league's best back court seemed determined to bury the upset-minded Portland Trailblazers early. The offense was crisp and turnover-free, and the team consistently found open looks against a spotty Blazer defense. Despite applying the brakes in the fourth period, the Warriors had 110 points through three quarters...there just aren't many teams that can hang with that on any night.
The Trailblazers would have their moments, though. Despite a couple of disappointing performances from Damian Lillard (17 points on 5-of-19 shooting) and CJ McCollum (18 points on 6-of-15 shooting), the rest of the Trailblazers picked up the slack, and hit 12-of-21 three-point attempts. In fact, the Blazers got a decent contribution (and a couple of threes) from just about everyone on the roster, except its star back court.
The Blazers were facing long odds, at Oracle, against an angry, great team focused on revenge. Remember, Damian Lillard played deep into the fourth quarter of Portland's shocking rout of Golden State the other week to chase a 50-point game -- and these Warriors took note. But to Rip City's credit, their own three-point firepower kept it close. After all, the team scored 61 points in the first half with just 5 turnovers -- that's got to be the most hard luck first half loss of the season.
But things unraveled for Lillard's Blazers in the second quarter, when both superstar point guards (Curry and Lillard) went to the bench. The Warriors lead grew to 20 points thanks to a relentless shooting effort. They would shoot 58.7% from the field as a team. In the third, the Warriors defense clamped down, holding Portland to seven points through seven minutes. The lead grew as large as 32 before the Warriors flipped on the cruise control button.
The Warriors are back at it tomorrow night, to host the Phoenix Suns and the third Splash Brother, Devin Booker.
More fun things to think about...
- Klay Thompson was on fire tonight, and at times resembled his 37-points-in-one-quarter self. If he had the shot opportunities, he could have absolutely topped 50 points tonight -- and more. He was 8-of-11 from three point range, and 13-of-22 overall. His plus-minus of plus-35 was by far the largest score for any player.
- Draymond Green once again proved that he's alright in the head (not that there was any doubt). 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the all-star point forward. He's a big part of the reason the team only committed eight turnovers all game.
- The Warriors had yet another layup-bricking contest. Stephen Curry and the Warriors missed at least four layups -- the easiest shots they attempted all night. What's up with that?
- Andre Iguodala twisted his ankle while fighting Lillard for a loose ball in the late third quarter. He would attempt his free throws and then immediately check out. He had a noticable limp as he walked to the locker room for treatment.
- Did it seem like there were an unusual number of three-point baskets? That's because there were: the Portland Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors set the all-time record for threes made in one game, with 37 (18 for the Dubs, 19 for Rip City). The old record was set by these Warriors and the Orlando Magic back in 2009.
Steph SWISH to end the half— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) March 12, 2016
(No, this is NOT a scheduled tweet)
Welp.— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 12, 2016