Warriors snap skid, hold off Trail Blazers
Lee, Curry star to offset 37 points from Oakland-bred point guard
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.
OAKLAND -- Golden State walked away from Oracle Arena no doubt relieved.
Thanks to a jaw-dropping performance from Portland rookie guard Damian Lillard, making his first pro appearance in his hometown, the Warriors nearly blew a 20-point lead Friday night. In the end, Golden State held on for a 103-97 win, snapping their first two-game losing streak since early November.
Lillard finished with a career-high 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting. He knocked down five of his seven 3-pointers in the second half, nearly leading Portland to its second thrilling comeback in two nights.
In the end, the Warriors' plethora of weapons was too much. Point guard Stephen Curry finished with 22 points (on 7-of-22 shooting) and 12 assists. Forward David Lee had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Klay Thompson added 16 points.
Forward Carl Landry had 15 points and seven rebounds, and guard Jarrett Jack had nine points, seven assists and six rebounds, leading the Warriors' bench effort.
The Warriors (23-12) desperately needed a win, as their schedule is brutal in January. A win in their next three would be considered a feat: at Denver, vs. Miami, at San Antonio.
So Portland (20-16) must've looked scrumptious to the win starved Warriors, who had been pounded in back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State began to create some separation midway through the first quarter. A Lillard 3-pointer made the score
15-12 Warriors at the 5:06 mark.
But Golden State closed the quarter by holding the Blazers to four points on 2-of-8 shooting to build a 28-19 lead.
That lead got as high as 19 as Golden State forced the Blazers to miss 20 of 25 shots in the second quarter. A jumper by Lee, who had eight points in the second quarter, put Golden State ahead 42-24.
The Warriors led 50-35 at the half after holding Portland to 11-of-47 shooting (23.4 percent) the first two quarters.
Golden State held serve the third quarter, which turned out to not be a good thing. The Warriors failed to put away Portland, which won a thriller Thursday night against defending champion Miami, when they had the chance. The Blazers, down 78-63 entering the fourth quarter, got some life from their rookie point guard.
Lillard knocked down three straight jumpers, two of them 3-pointers, to put Portland back into striking distance. His second 3-pointer, which he pulled up from Walnut Creek, cut the Warriors' lead to 82-74 with 9:43 left in the game.
But Lillard was just beginning. He would go on to score 17 points in the fourth quarter.
His driving layup with 5:21 left cut the Warriors' lead to seven. At the 1:41 mark, his runner pulled Portland within six.
Golden State kept getting just enough points -- a Curry jumper here, a Landry layup there -- to keep the Blazers at bay. But not enough to avoid scaring the living daylights out of Warriors fans.
Curry found Landry for a layup with 24.7 seconds left, putting the Warriors up 100-94. But just before Warriors' faithful could get comfortable, Lillard -- inexplicably wide-open at the top of the circle -- nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Warriors' lead to three.
Curry drilled a couple of free throws with 16.4 seconds left. Then rookie 6-foot-7 forward Draymond Green, dispatched to try to stop the hot hand, blocked Lillard's last 3-point attempt.
Golden State was saved from a potentially devastating choke job.
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