The Portland Trail Blazers, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, fell 103-88 to the Golden State Warriors Sunday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
“That was a rough game,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “First half, I thought both teams played pretty well but second half, we didn’t have much going at the offensive end. Golden State did a nice job with their defense but it’s just one of those nights where we just didn’t have enough at the offensive end.”
With the loss, the Trail Blazers move to 33-12 on the season.
The Trail Blazers started the game struggling from the field and didn’t improve much as the night went on. LaMarcus Aldridge went 0 for 5 in the first quarter, going scoreless in the first 12 minutes.
“Just one of those nights where I couldn’t get going,” said Aldridge, who shot just two for 14 from the field to end with 10 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. “I didn’t find a rhythm.”
Portland would end the quarter shooting 38 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free throw line. But despite the poor shooting, the Trail Blazers found themselves down just six going into the second quarter.
In the second, Portland’s bench would once again outplay their counterparts on the opposing bench after dominating Minnesota’s bench in the victory the night before at the Moda Center. The combination of Mo Williams, C.J. McCollum, Wesley Matthews, Thomas Robinson and Joel Freeland started their first shift by going on a 10-2 run to start the second quarter to take a 37-33 lead with six minutes to play in the half.
“One of the positives tonight is how well the bench has been playing,” said Stotts. “C.J. (McCollum), T-Rob (Thomas Robinson), Joel (Freeland) and Mo (Williams) in the first half had a very positive impact on the game again and on the heels of last night that’s good going forward.”
Portland’s bench players outscored Golden State’s reserves 19-5 with 2:47 to play in the half, helping the Trail Blazers overcome the first quarter slump to take a 55-54 lead into the half despite 23 first-half points from Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
“I just felt like, over the past couple of games, we’re just trying to emphasis not losing anything,” said Freeland, who went a perfect 4 of 4 from the field to finish the night with eight points and seven rebounds off the bench. “Just trying to go out there and bring energy. T-Rob is doing a great job of it as well, just going out there, trying to rebound everything, run the floor, set good picks and do all the dirty things. Over the last couple of games it’s been good for us, it’s help give us a spark.”
But things would turn sour quickly in the third quarter. Curry would stay hot and David Lee would come to life, helping the Warriors begin the second half with a 16-6 run to take a 70-61 with 4:16 to play in the third.
The Trail Blazers would make just three field goals in the quarter and ended the third with just 12 points on 16 percent shooting. Portland would also commit seven of their 14 turnovers in the third resulting in a 76-67 deficit going into the final quarter.
“We got good looks, they just didn’t fall tonight,” said Matthews of their third quarter slump. “It was just one of those nights. Rough day at the office.”
In the fourth quarter, Golden State would push the lead to as many as 22 before the Trail Blazers cut the deficit to nine with just under three minutes to play in regulation. But back-to-back jumpers from Curry, who finished with a game-high 36 points, put an end to any chance of a comeback victory.
“We just struggled,” said Lillard, who 5 of 16 from the field to finish with 16 points. Offensively, it was one of those nights. They made shots, we missed shots. I thought we had some good looks, shots that we usually made and we didn’t make them tonight. With all those things going on, we still had a chance down the stretch. That’s all we’d ask for when you have that type of offensive night.”
The Trail Blazers held the Warriors to 42 percent shooting, which would usually be enough to ensure a close game but shooting a season-low 34 percent from the field ensured Portland’s defensive effort would go to waste.
“The positive in all of this is our defense was good,” said Aldridge. “We made them take tough shots, Steph made some tough ones. We outrebounded them, that’s one of our goals. We just didn’t make shots. We got stops, we didn’t capitalize on them. We had turnovers, they made us pay for turnovers. Other than that, I thought that we guarded them well.”
Next up, the Trail Blazers return home to the Moda Center to play the Memphis Grizzlies for the first time this season on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM.