By Gabe Schapiro
The Golden State Warriors (27-18) got back in the win column, easily beating the tough Portland Trail Blazers (33-12), 103-88, Sunday night, at Oracle Arena. They won this one thanks to strong team defense and the lethal Stephen Curry. The Trail Blazers came into the contest as the NBA’s top scoring offense, and the Warriors made them look helpless for several stretches. For Portland the 88 points are a season-low, to go with 33% shooting from the field, also a season-low.
With their poor play as of late, it was important for the dubs to come out of the gates strong, and they did just that. They established an early lead, and set the tone with smothering defensive play. The splash brothers started especially hot, combining to score 18 of the team’s first 20 points, on 3-3 from beyond the arc. Through 12 minutes of play they led 28-22.
In the second quarter, however, the Blazers swung the momentum back in their favor. They scratched their way back and eventually took back the lead, which they hadn’t owned since the opening moments of the game. They led by as many as seven, before the Warriors re-inserted most of their starters and made a strong late push before halftime. Heading into the locker room, Golden State trailed by one, 55-54. Thankfully, the second was basically the only blip on the radar.
The Warriors thoroughly dominated the third quarter, and early portion of the fourth. At one point, during a 16 minute span, they outscored the Trailblazers 35-10, eventually building a 21-point advantage. Portland had one last gasp in them. They went on a 16-3 run late in the fourth, momentarily making Golden State sweat a little. The Warriors weren’t going to let this one slip away, however, and closed it out strong.
Curry finished with a game-high 38 points, to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. David Lee had a prototypical David Lee game, posting 17 points and 12 boards. Andre Iguodala notched his second double-double of the season, with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Klay Thompson had an off shooting night, hitting just 6-of-21 shots, but still contributed 17 points and fantastic defense.
The theme of the night, however, was of course their superb defense. LeMarcus Aldridge lit up the Warriors in their last meeting, and tonight they held him to just 2-of-14 from the field. He still managed to finish with a double-double, but ultimately didn’t have much of an impact on the contest. They also held star point guard Damian Lillard at bay. He finished with 16 points, 5-of-16 from the field, and five assists.
Tonight was a textbook look into how the Warriors need to play to compete with the league’s best. Hopefully they can springboard off of this win and continue this kind of play.
Golden State’s home stand continues this Tuesday, when they will be taking on the Washington Wizards. The game begins at 7:30 pm.