After the Blazers’ second-half impotence, you may be surprised that they were leading by one at the half. Well, they were, and with LaMarcus Aldridge shooting 1-7 from the field after two quarters, there was quite a bit hope that if he got it going, even a little bit, this game would be all but Portland’s. Instead, he finished 2-14 from the field, tying his season-low with 10 points. So there goes your best player.
What about your second-best player? Damian Lillard was 5-16 from the field for 16 points and just 4 assists with 2 turnovers.
That’s not going to get it done, despite Wesley Matthews’ 21 points…. also, he needed 14 shots to get it. 9 of his points came from the charity stripe in a game where the referees looked more than willing to let quite a bit of bumping go unpunished, especially down low.
If you don’t have anyone around which your offense can rotate; if there’s no threat to create open opportunities for others; then you’re doing little more than scrambling aimlessly for shots, open or not, which is pretty much what Portland looked like tonight.
Robin Lopez had 10 and 9 with 2 blocks, which wouldn’t be horrible until you realize had 4/5 of his points and about the same ratio of his rebounds in the first half.
Nicolas Batum’s 5 points, 3 boards, and 3 assists combined for one of his worst games of the season, and his finger is clearly ailing him. It might be worth considering resting until he can come back full strength, especially if there’s any chance at all of making the injury worse.
Thomas Robinson looked active and competent, gathering 11 rebounds. Some of those were particularly impressive. He’s able to jump about 50 feet in the air, float in mid-air, stretch his arms out perpendicular to the floor, and grab a ball dancing off the rim in a way that not many NBA players are able to do. He also had 5 points. He looks about 2 leagues above Meyers Leonard at this point.
Joel Freeland hit a couple of long jumpers to stop the bleeding at key times, going 4-4 for 8 points and chipping in 7 boards. He, too, looked like he belonged on the court.
So did CJ McCollum, but the stats didn’t reflect it. He shot 2-7 for 6 points.
Mo Williams followed up his fabulous game last night with a clunker in this one. 3-9 for 7 points tells the story.
Both teams started off motivated, but the Warriors took advantage of Aldridge’s inability to hit the broad side of a barn (0-5 in the quarter) to go up 28-22 after one.
The Blazers scored as many points in the 2nd quarter (33) as they did in the entire second half. Ouch, again. They managed a 7-point lead with 3 minutes to go in the half, but Golden State closed the gap in a most frustrating fashion: Stephen Curry hit an obvious, you-know-he’s-going-to-shoot-from-behind-the-arc three over a mismatch with Aldridge with seconds remaining to cut the Blazers lead to 55-54 going into the half.
The third quarter was a comedy of errors for Portland. Sure, the Warriors played good defense, and give them credit for that…. but there’s no excuse to go 4 minutes without a shot, or to turn the ball over again and again and again until Blazers fans were left with no hair to pull from frustration. Golden State didn’t play stellar offense, but it was enough to take a 76-67 lead into the fourth.
On the second night of a back-to-back; with their best player effectively dormant; with their second-best player struggling, and with their third-best player wincing after every dribble… the Blazers had a snowball’s chance, and hell was warmer than usual. The Blazers went 2 and a half minutes without points, then another 2 and a half minutes, at which point they were down 20. Game over. Steph Curry’s 38 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists blew Damian Lillard’s 14, 3, and 4 out of the water. The only hope? Maybe the Blazers will want some revenge when they play the Warriors next time.
Until then, the 33-12 Blazers will have to try to take out their frustration on the 22-20 Memphis Grizzles on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Portland.
- Robin Lopez had a very big block on Andre Iguodala. It’s too bad that it didn’t become a momentum-changer, but it was great to see.
- Speaking of momentum-changers, LaMarcus Aldridge got into it with Andrew Bogut a little bit in the third after an offensive foul was called on LMA, and Bogut retaliated with a shove. Both players got a technical foul… but the Blazers didn’t respond with a push of their own.
- The Blazers made 3 shots in the third quarter, and 5 shots in the fourth. Yeah… that’s not gonna do it.
- They also only made 6 threes in this one. I don’t know how many games they’ve failed to hit at least 10 threes lately. They also lost the points in the paint battle 40-26.
- Shooting 33% from the field usually doesn’t give you a chance to win. Maybe it was fatigue… maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, Portland doesn’t have a lot of time to get things going before playing again 2 days from now.