Sweet victory valentine as Trail Blazers beat Warriors, 123-117

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers head to the All-Star break in style, beating the Golden State Warriors behind Damian Lillard’s 44 points.

The first thing you need to know about the Trail Blazers game against the Golden State Warriors is that Portland won 123-117. All-Star Damian Lillard scored 44 points and dished out eight assists.

The second thing you need to know is that Jusuf Nurkic started and played 30 minutes. Whatever ailment or list of ailments there were that sidelined Nurkic in the third quarter of the loss to the Utah Jazz, they seemed to have gone away. Nurkic not only contributed, he was a difference-maker. And he played one of his better games this season, finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and no turnovers.

The reason this is noteworthy is that for the past two full days, there was a big mystery surrounding Nurkic. How did he get hurt? We don’t know. Neither do his teammates. Or his coaches. But all’s well that ends well, yeah?

The third thing you need to know is that the Trail Blazers came out blazing, taking an early 19-8 lead on a barrage of three-pointers from Lillard (2), CJ McCollum (1) and Al-Farouq Aminu (1). With one of those threes, this happened:

McCollum was solid. He scored 29 points and grabbed five rebounds.

Kevin Durant finished with 50 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Warriors, but, amazingly, it wasn’t enough.

Here are some odds and ends that I found noteworthy as I watched the game, the Trail Blazers most significant win of the year so far.


Maurice Harkless was in the starting lineup again; it was his fifth start in a row. He didn’t do much on offense, finishing with just three points.

But it was still a fantastic start for the Trail Blazers, who ended the first quarter up by 13.

This was after the Warriors scored six points in about six seconds, thanks in part to a pretty bogus Flagrant 1 foul on Evan Turner which led to two free throws by Durant.

The second quarter was much more competitive.

Zach Collins made a three to give the Trail Blazers a 49-36 lead. This makes Rip City happy. Go Zach go!

And then Nurkic dunked the ball to give Portland a 51-36 lead. A dunk! Go Nurk, go!

At the half, here’s what it looked like:


The Warriors got the lead down to three after Nurkic committed a dumb foul on Durant, who was shooting a three. (Durant completed the four-point play.) A few seconds later, Harkless committed the same foul, and Durant completed another four-point play.

Also: This didn’t seem like a recipe for success, but it was!

To be honest, it sorta felt like this:

And Dame kept making some personal Blazers history.

Actually, both he and Durant were wicked good all game.

Still, after three, the Trail Blazers had maintained their lead, 92-87.

It was a wild fourth quarter. This little run ended with a Lillard three:

And Dame continued to write his name in the Trail Blazers’ history books.

The Trail Blazers were up 121-117. As the clock was winding down, Durant hit a three – but his heel was out of bounds, so the shot did not count.

Next: CJ McCollum to be a hot trade target in the offseason

And as the Moda Center faithful rejoiced, the Trail Blazers snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Warriors, the longest such streak in the NBA.

The Trail Blazers, with the exception of Lillard, will now take a long holiday for the All-Star break. Next game will be Feb. 23 against the Jazz, who won their 11th straight game Wednesday.