You’d be forgiven if you thought the Golden State Warriors would have an easy time dispatching a Portland Trail Blazers team that was without both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Dubs had already beaten the Blazers by 15 earlier in the year, and now got to take a crack at the compromised version.
They did win, but it was far from easy — or pretty. In fact, here’s a screen shot of my ultra-detailed notes through the first half of basketball:
The Warriors scored a mere 26 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second, which gave them just a two-point halftime lead against Portland’s depleted squad.
But, as they’ve done so often this year, they were able to win in the third quarter. Steph Curry — who dropped in six triples to get within 10 of setting the all-time record — made a few key plays, and Otto Porter Jr. had multiple big shots en route to 15 points.
It wasn’t a dominant third quarter by any stretch of the imagination, but a 29-21 victory in the frame gave the Dubs a 10-point lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
From there the teams went back and forth. Golden State couldn’t push the lead to insurmountable levels, and no garbage time was achieved. The Blazers couldn’t get close enough to take an earnest shot at winning, but kept things uncomfortable for the fans at Chase Center. And when the final buzzer rang the Warriors had an uneventful 104-94 victory.
A win is a win.
Truthfully, the Warriors played better than the mediocre numbers suggest. The ball moved decently, and the Dubs didn’t have as bad of a turnover issue as they have for much of the season. The main issue was they simply struggled to make shots, shooting just 39.8% from the field and 30.5% from the three-point line — but many of those attempts were open.
Curry finished with 22 points on 8-for-19 shooting, and went 6-for-17 from distance with some free-flying attempts. Jordan Poole had 20 points on 5-for-14 shooting, but got to the free throw line time and time again, and Draymond Green did his usual thing with 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
With the win Golden State improves to 21-4, and takes over sole possession of first place in the Western Conference. They get a pair of off days before starting a five-game road trip on Saturday, when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers.
Check out the post-game stream on Twitch