Game Story For Tomorrow’s Paper
Spend enough time around the Warriors and you’ll hear talk about how great they are on offense. Wednesday night against Portland, it actually was the truth.
Point guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 32 points to go with seven assists and forward David Lee totaled 26 as Golden State bested the Blazers 101-93, rebounding from Monday’s embarrassing collapse against Memphis.
“We weren’t stressing about it at all, we just knew that we had an extreme lapse of play last game,” Curry said. “We know when we have the opportunity that we are capable of closing out games.”
The Warriors set season-highs with 33 assists and 11 3-pointers while snapping a three-game losing streak and getting their first win against a Western Conference opponent. The Warriors offense, which shot 51.9 percent, was clicking well enough against the Blazers that guard Monta Ellis didn’t even need to score.
Ellis finished with four points on 2-for-9 shooting. But he had a season-high 12 assists.
“When we move the ball and use all our weapons, instead of guys just being out there, we’re a better team,” forward Dorell Wright said. “We had 33 assists. That’s how it’s supposed to be – moving the ball and sharing the ball. You’ve got to make defenses work.”
The Warriors are hardly an offensive juggernaut these days, so such a scoring performance isn’t the norm. Golden State came into Wednesday’s game 13th in the league in scoring (95.3) and eighth in field goal percentage (45.6 percent). Not bad, but certainly not the dominant offensive squad of yesteryear.
But Wednesday,Golden State was clicking, especially in the second half. It wasn’t that they were lights out shooting or racking up a boat load of points. But they diversified their offense, taking advantage of multiple weapons instead of relying solely on Ellis.
After halftime, Golden State had 20 assists on 21 made baskets.
“We have no problems scoring,” coach Mark Jackson said. “We haven’t lost games because we couldn’t score. You look at the games we lost, we stopped defending.”
The Warriors didn’t stop defending Wednesday.
The Blazers looked to have their way in the first half, shooting 50 percent in the second quarter en route to a 53-48 lead. But in the second half, Golden State tightened up on defense. Portland scored just 40 points after halftime – which is one point more than Memphis scored in the fourth quarter Monday. In the end, the Blazers shot 41 percent.
Golden State was dominated on the boards Wednesday, however. Led by center Marcus Camby’s game-high 16 rebounds, the Blazers outrebounded the Warriors by 13 and racked up 12 offensive rebounds.
But Golden State offset the damage with timely, efficient offense.
The Warriors took control of the game in the third quarter. More accurately, Curry took control of the game in the third quarter. Curry kept finding himself open, knocking down four 3-pointers in the quarter. He put up 16 in the third helping Golden State make 12 of 19 from the field.
Curry started a run with a 3-pointer, putting the Warriors up 72-70. He then capped the spurt by connecting with forward Dorell Wright on a length-of-the-court pass for a break-away layup. The Warriors, who had been down by as much as 10, entered the fourth quarter up 79-73.
In the fourth quarter, it was Lee’s turn. He scored 10 of the Warriors’ first 12 points of the quarter.
Golden State’s defense did the rest. The Warriors held Portland to 7 of 18 shooting in the fourth quarter with four turnovers. Blazers leading scorer Jamal Crawford, a former Warrior, needed six shots to get seven points in the fourth quarter.
“We defended, we rebounded, we took care of the ball,” said Jackson, whose team totaled 12 turnovers. “We made mistakes, but when you put for the energy and effort, good things happen. We did a great job closing out against a very good basketball team.”
* Warriors swingman Klay Thompson seems to have the swag back in his game. Working with the second unit, the rookie out of Washington State has shown an ability to give the Warriors quick offense. His outside shot is starting to fall as expected.
Thompson entered Wednesday’s game averaging 10.3 points over the previous four contests. He shot 51.6 percent during that stretch, including 9-for-15 from 3-point range.
That’s a far cry from the gun shy rookie who started 6-for-20 from the field over his first five games.
“He’s much more confident, for whatever reason,” Jackson said. “I thought early on in the season, he turned down shots. … I told him, ‘Reggie Miller would never shake his head missing a shot.’ ”
* Speaking of shooters, Rush has been on a tear from deep. He made all three of his attempts from beyond the arc Wednesday.
Rush has made 10 of his last 12 attempts from 3-point range. Wednesday, he passedBoston’s Ray Allen and now leads the league in 3-point shooting (57.4 percent).
* Rookie big man Jeremy Tyler played eight first-half minutes, totaling five points and a rebound. He hadn’t played more than three minutes in a game this season.
* Rap legend and Oakland native MC Hammer was in attendance Wednesday.