SAN FRANCISCO, March 1 (US): GOLDEN STATE GOAL: Do it all to shut down Damian Lillard, without spoiling the Trail Blazers star after he made all 16 of his free throws last time against the defending champs.
The Associated Press reported that Jordan Paul had 29 points, six assists and five rebounds, Klay Thompson had 23 points and the Warriors beat a hot Lillard and Portland 123-105 on Tuesday night.
Lillard had 25 points and seven assists to follow his franchise record and career-best 71-point masterpiece against the Rockets Sunday night, when his 13 3-pointers shy of Thompson’s NBA record.
“We know very well what Dam can do when he’s rolling,” said coach Steve Kerr. “That was the plan from the beginning, let’s try to get it out.”
Lillard was whistled for three quick fouls after halftime and Portland unsuccessfully challenged his fourth. The Warriors took advantage of every opportunity during a crucial 39-point third quarter, to take the lead for good at a Thompson 3-pointer with 1:46 left in the period en route to their fourth straight home win and eighth in nine at Chase Center.
Golden State came back from the 23rd after losing 125-122 in Portland on February 8th.
“It was a very good test of what we will need to move forward,” goalkeeper Donte DiVincenzo said.
Jonathan Cuminga delivered a one-handed high bunt down the middle late in the third game, sure to make the highlight reels, then another shortly after to help the comeback. Scored 16 on 8-for-10 shooting.
Lillard had 15 points shooting 5-for-8 in the first time to help the Blazers build a rapid 39-22 lead and score 41 in the opening period. He shot 9 of 21 nights and only took five free throws.
Thompson and Lillard were the league’s most prolific long-distance shooters in February, with Thompson averaging 5.6 seconds per game in the NBA for 5.3 yards.
Thompson was working on being a better player and grabbed eight to go with four assists. He and Paul started a combined 6-for-22 as the Warriors trailed 65-48 at halftime.
It was the first meeting since Portland dealt Gary Payton II to the Warriors before the trade deadline, and then Golden State expressed concerns to the NBA about how much the Trail Blazers were involved with regards to the guard’s health. Payton is currently sidelined still recovering from off-season surgery for a core muscle injury.
“Just want a collar!” Payton posted on his Twitter account.
Draymond Green returned from a two-game absence with a bruised right knee, then injured his left wrist at the 9:15 second mark in a collision with Drew Eubanks and went to the locker room before returning about four minutes later.
He had a knee MRI on Monday, then was involved in a shootout before he was ready to play and contributed 12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and two steals.
With Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins still out, Green’s return to the field meant a lot.
“It feels like we come together, and there seems to be some chemistry, some energy that builds up,” Kerr said. “We’ve been struggling all season and without Steve Wiggs for much of the season. Those guys have done a great job just keeping our heads above water.”
Portland coach Chauncey Billups has tried to keep the focus on basketball and not any of the drama surrounding Payton’s departure earlier in the month.
“Just another day,” said Billups, “I’d be happy to see him, to cuddle him and give him some love.”
Kevon Looney, who went into 24 games with double-digit rebounds, saw the most for Golden State since Green was 37 in 2015-16, ended a six-game streak with 13 or more rebounds but scored 14 points with seven rebounds.
Larry Smith is the last Warriors player to grab at least 13 rebounds in seven straight games when he had an eight-game winning streak in 1980-81.
“What Looney does on the offensive glass is unbelievable,” said Billups.
Trail Blazers: Portland shot 12-for-39 from deep, losing 45-33. … The Blazers have lost their last five games at the Warriors’ home stadium.
WARRIORS: NBA Finals MVP Curry increases his workload and feuded earlier in the day with two Golden State backup players. He missed his ninth consecutive game with a left leg injury after sustaining an injury against Dallas on February 4, and an official update on his progress is due in the next few days. … Wiggins was knocked out for the fifth straight game while dealing with a family matter.
Trail Blazers: Host New Orleans Wednesday night to wrap up their back-to-back game.
Warriors: Host the Clippers Thursday night after winning their last four in the series at home.