“Scary, crazy,” was how Warriors center Zaza Pachulia described the finish to Golden State’s 113-111 win over the Blazers in Portland on Sunday night. The Warriors survived a wide-open, 3-point attempt by Evan Turner at the final buzzer to get out of town with a victory.
The Warriors were playing without Stephen Curry, who missed the game because of the flu.
The Warriors led by 21 points in the first half and were up 106-99 with 38 seconds remaining, before a furious Blazers’ rally gave them one final shot at winning. After a Portland timeout, Turner squared up Kevin Durant on the perimeter, then jab-stepped, which got Durant off balance.
That stumble gave Turner a wide-open look. He missed and Mason Plumlee’s attempted tip-in also missed.
–With Curry out of the starting lineup, the Warriors used Shaun Livingston at point guard, creating a very long unit to start the game — along with Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachouli. The length clearly gave Portland trouble, and it didn’t get any better when the Warriors went to their bench, utilizing Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee and even rookie Patrick McCaw.
Through the games’s first 19 minutes, the Blazers had scored only 30 points, and were down 21. It’s clear what the Warriors think when they play the Blazers: If we can limit Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum or make them volume shooters, Portland doesn’t have enough other weapons to compete.
Well, that all changed in the last 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, when the Blazers went on a 20-2 run to make it a ballgame, 53-50 at halftime. Lillard and McCollum were in the middle of things, but other Blazers chipped in.
–It seemed like early on, the Blazers’ inability to knock down a 3-pointer really hurt them. Portland missed its first five from beyond the arc, and it allowed the Warriors to play a collapsed defense. The Blazers spent a good portion of the first quarter, penetrating and kicking out — but either the shot was missed or they had to continue cycling with little success. The Warriors were just sitting back … waiting.
Durant finished with 33 points on 13-for-28 from the field, but had seven turnovers. Thompson finished 27 points on just 6-for-21 from the field. But he went 13-for-15 from the line to compensate.