In The Road Warrior, a beat-up, ragged group tries to fight for survival in a nightmare dystopian world. That’s cheery compared to the 2022-23 Golden State Warriors on the road. Wednesday night, the Moda Center was their Thunderdome as, like Mad Max and his friends, the Warriors ran out of gas against the Portland Trail Blazers, and fell 125-122.
Damian Lillard had a triple double for Portland, with 33 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. His shot wasn’t falling, but he got himself to the line for 16 free throws, and hit every one of them. Portland only missed a single free throw, going 31-32 from the line. The Warriors also only missed one free throw, but that left them 9-10. That’s a 22-point gap and a huge reason for the loss. Wait, I’m sorry, Kevin Durant is on the Suns now?
For the Warriors, Jordan Poole led the way with 38 points and seven assists. Klay Thompson followed up his 42-point effort with 31 points, which he achieved, like Monday night, without the benefit of a single free throw. He also flashed some defense and passing, exemplified by this steal-and-dish to Jonathan Kuminga.
Klay steal ➡️ JK slam pic.twitter.com/n3XC6AHZeb— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 9, 2023
Donte DiVincenzo contributed 18 points off the bench, and the trio of Warriors guards combined to shoot 19-41 from distance. It wasn’t enough. After Poole hit a jumper to go up 114-110, the Warriors didn’t score for over five minutes. Once Poole finally made another bucket with 46 seconds left, the Warriors were down 121-116, and even late threes by DiVincenzo and Thompson couldn’t pull out the win.
They traded Mikal Bridges AND Cam Johnson but now Chris Paul is staying? What?
Why was it so rough? Players, Draymond Green in particular, passing up layups to hunt for threes.
Steve Kerr admits the Warriors should have taken a couple layups late in the game instead of "searching for threes." pic.twitter.com/UjZmWo9dQ2— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 9, 2023
The Blazers got a shock before the game when they announced Josh Hart had been traded to the New York Knicks, in exchange for Cam Reddish. Hart got the news during warm-ups, and the Blazers may have gotten an emotional lift from his departure. winning the first quarter 34-27. You know who else departed? Kevin Goddamn Durant.
The Warriors roared back at the end of the second quarter, going on a 14-2 run. Golden State may have been inspired by DiVincenzo delivering a monster dunk that had, dare we say it, shades of Mac McClung.
Donte DiVincenzo poster dunk in Portland pic.twitter.com/AAVmzONshz— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 9, 2023
The Dubs went into the break with a 67-63 advantage, after a beautiful final possession lead to a Jordan Poole buzzer beating three pointer.
JP BEATS THE BUZZER pic.twitter.com/2vKvIxV6OJ— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 9, 2023
Poole started the second half hot, nailing his first three attempts from being on the arc.
JP drains another three pic.twitter.com/QO8yKQoMZM— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 9, 2023
The third quarter ended tied 95-95 after a monster dunk by Shaedon Sharpe. He pulled out of the dunk contest this week, apparently to focus on his in-game jams.
SHAEDON SHARPE BOUNCE IS UNREAL.— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 9, 2023
Once again, the Warriors went ice cold on offense on the road. And once again, they stopped moving the ball and started isolating. And going for the kill shot instead of the tiny little cuts - and cuts to the rim - that were useful against a team missing its rim protector.
Speaking of rim protectors, Kevin Durant really started blocking shots when he was on the Warriors. It’s just... Jae Crowder too?
Portland was without center Jusuf Nurkic, who was wearing a suit that radio broadcaster Tim Roy described as having material “like an abandoned couch from a college town.”
The Warriors have two days off until they play the new-look Lakers Saturday. D’Angelo Russell homecoming let’s go! Kevin Durant is a Sun. Wow.