Saturday, January 12, 2013
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry wasn't as impressed with Golden State's latest win as much as he was concerned over how it nearly got away.
That's how far the expectations have risen for these Warriors.
Curry made two important free throws with 16.4 seconds left and Golden State overcame a phenomenal fourth quarter by Portland rookie Damian Lillard to beat the Trail Blazers 103-97 on Friday night.
Lillard, an Oakland native, scored 29 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and nearly helped the Blazers overcome a 20-point deficit before the Warriors held on.
“For 2½ quarters we had control of the game ... then Lillard got hot,” said Curry, who finished with 22 points and 12 assists. “Not to take away from his night, he made the shots. But we've got to find a way to stop a guy when he has it going like that.”
Lillard's outburst in the final quarter overshadowed what had been an otherwise sluggish night by Portland's offense. The Blazers missed 27 of their first 35 attempts, went 15 of 43 overall on 3-pointers and committed 13 turnovers.
Conversely, Golden State had five players in double figures and shot 47.7 percent for the game.
“This is preparing us,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “Where we expect to go, in these games, you are going to have to find a way to stop special players, and this is great preparation for us.”
David Lee had 24 points and 10 rebounds and helped shut down Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge in a matchup of two of the top power forwards in the Western Conference. Aldridge had seven points.
Klay Thompson scored 16 points, Carl Landry added 15 and Harrison Barnes had 13 points and seven rebounds for Golden State.
The Warriors led by 20 in the second half before Lillard nearly rallied the Blazers. He scored 17 in the fourth quarter and made a pair of deep 3-pointers, including his seventh of the night that cut Golden State's lead to 100-97 with 22.5 seconds remaining.
Curry then made two free throws and Jarrett Jack added one to seal the win.
“I think we were flat,” Lillard said. “I had a game like this in college but that ended up with a win. That's why this is bittersweet.”
Golden State snapped a two-game losing streak and continued its surprising turnaround from a year ago. The win over Portland helped the Warriors match their win total (23) from last season and helped maintain their second-place spot in the Pacific Division.
They needed another strong night from Curry to hold off a pesky Blazers team that was thoroughly outplayed for three quarters before making a late run.
Curry shot just 7 for 22 but had seven points in the fourth quarter, though he was nearly overshadowed by Lillard.
Lillard went 15 of 22 from the floor and made a career-best seven 3s to go with six rebounds and four assists. A small but vocal crowd of supporters chanted his name, growing louder with each bucket he made in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't enough for the Blazers, who had won three straight against the Warriors.
“We didn't have much going in the first half,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Damian started to get it going and we rode on his shoulders. We opened it up for him.”
Lee scored 13 points in the first half and helped hold Aldridge to three points before the break. Lee had seven points during a 10-2 run that helped the Warriors take a 50-35 halftime lead.
The early hole ruined Stotts' plan of resting his starters. Aldridge played 43 minutes, Lillard played 42 and Wesley Matthews was in for 36. The trio combined to go 21 of 54.
The Blazers were sluggish from the start on both ends of the court, had trouble getting the ball inside and missed 36 of their first 47 shots from the floor. Their frustrations boiled over when Matthews received a technical foul after yelling at an official following a turnover.
Golden State led 67-47 midway through the third quarter before Lillard scored eight straight points early in the fourth to pull Portland to 82-74.
NOTES: Portland attempted 43 3-pointers, the most ever against Golden State. ... Lee had his NBA-leading 15th game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Warriors played without backup center Andris Biedrins (groin pull).