Lillard: Don't take anything away from Warriors
OAKLAND – The Portland Trail Blazers simply ran out of gas in a 103-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors Sunday night at Oracle Arena.
Having played their seventh game in 10 days, Portland simply had no energy left to spare and their 33 percent shooting percentage for the entire game proved it. Robin Lopez (4-for-7) and Joel Freeland (4-for-4) were the only Trail Blazers to shoot 50 percent or higher from the field.
“I felt good going in but you could kind of feel the fatigue during the game," Damian Lillard said after scoring 16 points on five-of-16 from the floor. “It’s something that every team goes through so it’s not just something that’s happening with us.”
Portland (33-12) entered tonight’s game shooting 39 percent from long range and averaging 9.8 threes per contest. At the end of this meeting, they had shot 28 percent from distance in which they were six-for-21.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them. I thought we had some shots that we could make,” Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said afterwards.
LaMarcus Aldridge played the worst game of his MVP-caliber season despite registering his 28th double-double of the season. The All-Star power forward put up 10 points on two-of-14 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of play.
Golden State’s (27-18) David Lee, who provided 17 points and 12 rebounds, bodied Aldridge up from beginning to end, forcing his counterpart into taking some tough, contested jumpers. The referees didn’t call much in the painted area and some players benefited from that freedom.
“I thought we set the tone physicality-wise from the start against a very good Portland team who can really score the basketball,” Lee said afterwards. “We did a very good job to start the game and that filtered on down through the rest of the game.”
This was easily Lee’s best defensive effort of the season. You could tell he wanted this matchup. However, Aldridge isn’t going to give him all the credit for his subpar game.
“Man, I missed shots,” he told CSNNW.com. “I got to the spots that I wanted and I just didn’t finish it out. I thought their guards did a good job of being in my lap all night. He knew they had help to the middle and they got some turnovers from it. That was it.”
Stephen Curry showed up to the tune of a game-high 38 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in 34 minutes. He was 13-of-23 from the field and five-for-eight from downtown.
The newly minted Western Conference All-Star starter had the stroke going from a multitude of offensive sets.
Whether it was coming off of picks, pulling up in transition or getting to the teeth of the defense, on a night where Portland was clearly fatigued, Curry was too much for them to handle.
“He just did a little bit of everything,” Stotts said. “…Honestly, I don’t think he did anything differently that what he normally does…He had it going tonight.”
Wesley Matthews led the Trail Blazers with 21 points while getting five rebounds. Robin Lopez nearly reached a double-double – 10 points, nine boards and Mo Williams and CJ McCollum combined for 14 points.
Though Portland shot poorly throughout this game, the third quarter was when Golden State took control. The Trail Blazers were three-for-19 in that quarter and scored only 12 points to the Warriors’ 22. The Warriors carried that momentum into the fourth quarter and were able to build a massive lead of 22 with 7:18 remaining in the game.
With a lineup consisting of Williams, Lillard, McCollum, Matthews and Aldridge, Portland had cut the deficit to 9 with 2:42 left. Nonetheless, that would be the closest they’d get before Stotts eventually emptied his bench.
“We were trying anything,” Stotts said of that small lineup. “We were having trouble scoring in the third quarter so I put more shooters, more playmakers on the court.”
One of the players missing in that small lineup was Nicolas Batum. It turns out he has been dealing with a right foot/ankle injury that he sustained against Boston a few weeks ago when he planted on it wrong.
As of now, he has no range of motion in the foot and he’s experiencing some pain. He is expected to take a precautionary MRI on Monday. Being that it’s something he has been able to play through, it is not viewed as a major concern.
Tomorrow is maintenance day for Portland. And boy do they need it. They’ll take on the Memphis Grizzlies at the Moda Center on Tuesday and they should be well rested by then.