The Golden State Warriors hosted the Portland Trail Blazers at Chase Center on Wednesday and pulled out a 104-94 victory. The Blazers took the court without several key players, including star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. However, despite their shorthanded rotation, Portland put up a respectable performance against one of the best teams in the NBA.
The Blazers missed Lillard and McCollum’s offensive production all night. Portland shot just .407/.267/.714 and did not make more than half of their field-goal attempts in any quarter. With that said, the Warriors struggled to get going offensively as well.
Golden State was far from efficient in its own right. They recorded their worst single-game field-goal percentage of the season (39.8%) and shot just 30.4% from behind the arc. Yet while both teams failed to build consistent offensive momentum, the Dubs scored first and never ceded the lead.
Of course, Warriors star Stephen Curry’s performance was under an even closer microscope than usual as he approaches NBA history. Curry entered play 16 made threes from breaking Ray Allen’s record for the most career made-threes in league history. While nobody has ever made that many threes in a game (Curry has the single-game record of 13 made threes in a game), there was still giddy energy around Wednesday’s matchup as fans, analysts, and pundits alike wondered if he could do the seemingly impossible.
Curry and the Dubs clearly prioritized getting him some early three-point attempts, but it seemed like it just was not to be. He missed his first four attempts—all from deep—before scoring his first points. Nevertheless, Curry led the Warriors with 8 points at the end of the first quarter, even with his slow start.
The Blazers hung tight through the first quarter, trailing just 26-23, led offensively by Nassir Little, who got to the free-throw line 10 times and scored 18 points in the first half.
While the Trail Blazers are clearly worse off without Lillard and McCollum, that does not mean there’s a completely negative effect. Little and Dennis Smith Jr. slotted into the starting lineup for Portland’s stars, strangely improving the defensive versatility of the starting lineup. Facing off against that added length and athleticism, Curry’s usual explosive moments against the Blazers were relatively absent. Instead, he continued his recent stretch of high-volume shooting, scoring 22 points on 19 field-goal attempts (17 from three) while never getting to the free-throw line once. Jordan Poole also scored 20 points but did the bulk of his damage at the free-throw line. He shot just 5-for-14 from the field and 2-for-10 from three.
Otto Porter Jr. was exceptional off the Dubs bench, raining in four threes and recording 15 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Starting center Kevon Looney also finished with the game’s second-best plus/minus (+13) and racked up 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.
As the game wore on, the Blazers’ limited rotation proved costly. Smith and Norman Powell each played more than 40 minutes and several other Portland players saw significantly increased playing time. By the end of the third quarter, the Warriors were able to push their lead to double-digits and kept that margin for most of what was left in regulation.