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Steph Curry dominates Trail Blazers once again in 118-103 win

To be fair, Draymond Green also takes a lot of pride in beating Portland. Andrew Wiggins? Getting into it too.

Draymond Green invites Damian Lillard to the gun show.
Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors pulled away from the Portland Trail Blazers in a wild second quarter, and never looked back on the way to a 118-103 victory. OK, they looked back briefly when Portland cut the deficit to eight points in the 4th quarter, but two Curry three-pointers later, the Warriors were cruising to their 6th straight win. The victory brought the team’s record to a league-leading 17-2, which is a game better than the pace set by the first Kevin Durant Warriors team in 2016-17. Portland fell to 10-10, including a 1-9 mark on the road. Curry finished with 32 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds.

All five starters scored in double figures for Golden State, highlighted by an efficient 25 points for Andrew Wiggins on just 16 shots. Draymond Green had 12 points and 12 assists, to go with his two steals and three blocks, including a game-sealing one on Larry Nance, Jr. deep in the fourth. The resurgent Kevon Looney shot 6-7 and had seven times as many rebounds as Lakers starting center DeAndre Jordan, and Jordan Poole continued his newfound passing excellence with five assists and a team-high +23 plus/minus in his 35 minutes.

For the Blazers, Damian Lillard really struggled, scoring just 16 points on 5-15 shooting and committing four turnovers. That box score belies how ineffective he was, as half of those points and two of those threes happened after Portland was already down 12 points with just over three minutes left. At least he got to have Thanksgiving in Oakland! Anfernee Simons led the Blazers with 19 points off the bench (and five threes), C.J. McCollum had 16, and Jusuf Nurkic scored 17 points in 24 minutes despite being absolutely baffled on defense at times. Overall, the Blazers’ aggressive, blitz-heavy defensive scheme bothered the Warriors more than usual - but they figured it out and beat it for threes to end the second, and easy buckets at the rim in the third.

It was a back-and-forth struggle for most of the first half, with the relatively shorthanded Warriors - seven different Warriors were out due to factors like injuries, impending fatherhood, and a field trip to Santa Cruz - struggling to put up points against the Blazers 28th-ranked defense. The game was played at a decidedly slower pace than the Warriors usually prefer, and Draymond had four first-quarter turnovers. But after Steph Curry entered the game with 3:09 remaining, the offense coincidentally began to click. Actually “click” is an understatement for a quarter-closing 16-2 run. Poole hit a three, Curry stole the ball from Lillard and hit a three of his own, forcing a Portland timeout. Poole hit another jumper, Otto Porter Jr. got a steal, and Draymond Green got a three-point play off a Lillard foul. After a Lillard technical, Curry responded to the “MVP” chants from the crowd by drilling a 30-footer, which you can view above this very paragraph.

The Curry Flurry demoralized the Blazers and even got Scott Brooks kicked out of the game, as he was called for two technicals and ejected after the buzzer. It’s possible the shots triggered flashbacks to the 2016 Western Conference Finals when he was coaching Oklahoma City, but watching that breakdown would probably make me yell, too. You could argue that the quarter really ended on a 17-2 run, because Curry hit one of the technical FTs to start the second half.

It’s no surprise that the Warriors also dominated the 3rd quarter. They did it by going to the basket over and over. In the 3rd quarter alone, they had four dunks, four layups, and a tip-in off a missed layup. Green got the coveted State Farm Assist Of The Night for this lob to Wiggins. (Steph should have gotten Screen Of The Night for freeing up Wiggins, but there’s no sponsor for that.)

The final margin for the quarter, 33-26, was almost exactly the Warriors’ average margin for 3rd quarters, 7.6 points. That’s more than twice as good as the second-best third quarter team, the Boston Celtics (3.5 points).

Sometimes this kind of game feels inevitable with Steph Curry and the Blazers, who he torched for a career-high 62 points last season. Curry came into this game averaging 28 points per game against Portland, his highest scoring average against any NBA team. He shoots 48% and 45.5% from three-point range. Against Dame Lillard, it’s 32 PPG. Curry is 16-8 against Lillard in the regular season and 10-0 against him in the playoffs. It’s like he has an extra gear he hits when Oakland native Lillard comes to town. Or when Lillard stays home. Or it’s that, despite all his scoring prowess, Lillard guards about as well as Jeffrey Epstein’s jailers.

The Warriors’ stripped-down ten-man rotation all contributed in this game, particularly Juan Toscan-Anderson’s eight points and eight rebounds. Overall the bench shot 9-19 from the field, despite going 1-10 from deep. Gary Payton II made all three of his shots and got two steals, one of which led to a fast break basket that gave the Warriors their largest lead of the game, 91-70.

In the 4th quarter, the Blazers made an energetic effort to come back, led by Simons, who was not just on fire, but NBA Jam ON FIRE in the 4th. He made five shots in a row, from floaters to step back 31-footers. He was even nailing ridiculous shots during dead balls.

When Nassir Little made all three of his free throws after a terrible foul by Chris Chiozza, the Blazers got within ten. Meanwhile, the Warriors hadn’t made a field goal all quarter. Then Kerr sent the starters back in. Well, the starters + JTA. Green and Wiggins entered the game and the offense got it together. Once again, Wiggins stepped up offensively, scoring ten points in the game’s final 6+ minutes. Then the small closing lineup with JTA in the Iguodala role held off the Blazers, extending the lead to 15 when Wiggins hit a three to beat the shot clock with seconds left.

As for the Warriors’ absent lottery picks, Moses Moody scored 17 points and delivered the game-ending block in the Santa Cruz Warriors’ 112-110 win over G League Ignite. Jonathan Kuminga had 12 in 30 mostly forgettable minutes, though he did log four steals. Jacob Evans, yes, him, hit two threes.

Klay Thompson watched the game from the Warriors bench and stayed there until twenty minutes after the game ended, as the remaining fans chanted “THOMPSON! THOMPSON! THOMPSON!” Clearly Klay was emotional, though his emotions may have involved relief that his Washington State Cougars won the Apple Cup over the Washington Huskies for the first time in seven years.

The Warriors are 17-2, and they’re weeks away from adding Klay Thompson to this surprise juggernaut of a team. Sunday afternoon, they’ll make their final visit to the Staples Center (it becomes the Arena December 25th), and next week they’ll get an excellent test with two consecutive games against the 16-3 Phoenix Suns, who could be riding a 16-game win streak into their matchup Tuesday. It’s an exciting time for Warriors’ basketball, and it’s easy to see why waiting even three more weeks to get on the court with these guys is tormenting Klay.

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