It was apparent from tipoff that the Golden State Warriors were determined to put their mini-slump behind them. And that’s exactly what they did on Saturday night, pounding the Portland Trail Blazers from start to finish, en route to a 135-90 win at Oracle Arena.
Of course, the Warriors being a little flat for a few games doesn’t exactly take its toll in the standings. The Warriors had won three in a row entering the game against the Blazers, but they hadn’t been playing all that well.
Golden State played a poor second half against Utah last week but managed to hold on against the Jazz in Salt Lake City. They then went to Memphis and got blown out by the Grizzlies. They then struggled to beat Minnesota and New Orleans before an uninspired 103-90 victory over the Knicks at Oracle.
But boy were they sharp against the Blazers, jumping out to a 39-21 lead after a quarter and bumping the lead to 28 at one point in the second quarter.
–After missing the past four games because of a right wrist injury, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia returned to the starting lineup. He played 17 minutes and had four points and seven rebounds. JaVale McGee, who had been starting in Pachulia’s place had 11 points and five rebounds.
–Ian Clark had a career-high 23 points and made his first four shots of the game. Clark had gone 8-for-8 from the field in the Warriors’ win at Portland earlier this season, meaning at one point he was 12-for-12 from the floor against the Blazers this year.
–Kevin Durant had a game-high 34 points on an incredible shooting night (11-for-13 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Durant did his damage in just 31 minutes.
–Portland won’t be the last team that comes into Oracle and gets blown out, but not a lot of teams will look much worse than the Blazers on their way to doing it. The Blazers were bereft of energy and never in the game. Sure, missing Al-Farouq Aminu doesn’t help (he’s missed 20 games this year), but that alone shouldn’t be a death knell.
The Blazers were supposed to be better this year, but Evan Turner hasn’t helped and Festus Ezeli has been hurt and will continue to be hurt into the foreseeable future. Blowout losses happen, we all know that. But something more feels like it’s brewing in Portland.