Blazers can’t hold 18-point lead against Warriors

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer



Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 64 points to help push the Golden State Warriors past the Portland Trail Blazers 113-112 at the Moda Center on Sunday.

The Splash Brothers, as they are called, helped the Warriors come back from 18 points down in the second half. With the comeback, Golden State pulled within a game-and-a-half of fifth place in the Western Conference.

“He’s a superstar, that’s the way he plays,” said Blazers guard Wesley Matthews. “He’s not one of those guys where they have to run a set for him.”

The Blazers had all of the momentum heading into the second half and they even extended their lead to 18 early in the third quarter.

Then, Curry started to find his rhythm.

Curry scored 13 points in the third quarter. But it only set the stage for the show Curry and his running mate would put on in the fourth quarter.

Curry is one of the league’s most captivating offensive forces and he didn’t disappoint after the slow start. He finished with 37 points and had the Blazers reeling and the fans in the Moda Center gasping on every attempt.

“He has the ball from the moment they inbound the ball with the ultimate green light,” added Matthews. “I think we did a good job on him in the first half. He came alive a little bit but the last four or five minutes it wasn’t him.”

However, while Curry didn’t make a field goal in the final five minutes of the game, his ball handling and passing set off chain reactions that got the Warriors open looks for 3-pointers.

“The last 3 that Thompson got (the eventual game-winner), Curry penetrated and we kind of committed to him and he got to the lane and kicked it out and the extra pass for another 3,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

Thompson was also playing this one with a heavy heart, playing within 72 hours of his grandfather’s passing.

Three days after the Blazers said Mo Williams (right hip strain) would be out for two weeks, he led the Blazers out of the tunnel and brought back his trademark, bordering on frantic energy on both ends in Sunday’s loss.

Williams was key to a big second quarter for the Blazers when they outscored the Warriors 31-21 with his passing and fast-paced tempo.

After mixing and matching lineups, it appeared that Stotts had found a lineup that worked in Victor Claver, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum, Damian Lillard and Williams. However, in the second half that line-up didn’t make another appearance.

The Blazers also started to lose their cool in the fourth quarter as the game’s physicality went up a level.

Mo Williams and Blazers coach Terry Stotts both picked up technical fouls in the fourth quarter.

Stotts said that he didn’t say anything when he got it with his and only gestured to the other end of the court. He felt like head referee Tony Brothers was trying to make a point.

The Blazers had a chance to win the game or force overtime when they were down by two points with 11 seconds left.

Lillard absorbed contact on a drive to the basket but missed and Nicolas Batum grabbed the offensive rebound, drawing a foul on his putback attempt.

“I wish I had been able to get to the rim cleaner. You all saw the play,” Lillard said facetiously.

Batum made the first but missed the second. He was able to get his 14th rebound and put up a desperation three that fell short.

Neither Batum nor Stotts said that they would have wanted to call a timeout after Batum gained possession of the ball with about 2.5 seconds left.

The Blazers lost another close one, making them 5-11 in games within two points with under two minutes left since Jan. 1. They’ve played the most such game in that stretch and have the fourth-worst winning percentage.

Blazers notes

Aldridge takes steps toward returning

The star power forward of the Portland Trail Blazers is feeling a little bit better.

After taking a nasty fall in Wednesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t able to walk on his own power and had to use crutches.

Aldridge said that he’s feeling a lot better and was walking around in the Blazers locker room prior to Sunday’s game.

He said that today was the first time that he’s been able to walk under his own power since the fall.

There was no official update given by the team on Aldridge’s prognosis but he is due to get re-evaluated this week.

Mo Williams is back

The Blazers announced on Thursday that backup point guard Mo Williams would be out for two weeks after getting an MRI done on his strained right hip.

Shortly before they tipped off on Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, the Blazers upgraded Williams to probable. Shortly after that it was Williams that led the Blazers out of the tunnel before the game.

Williams was suspended after the first meeting between the Warriors and Blazers in late November for getting into a fight with Golden State’s Andrew Bogut.

Williams is the team’s sixth-leading scorer and is third on the team in assists per game.

He was also crucial to the team’s success when Aldridge hasn’t played, picking up more of the scoring load.

During the five games that Aldridge missed in late February, Williams averaged over 14 points per game on better than 50 percent shooting. Both numbers being well above Williams’ season averages.

Getting RoLo Involved

In the first three games of Portland’s most recent road trip, there was a dip in field goal attempts by Robin Lopez which then evened out in the next two games.

For Lopez, his chances come in pick and rolls and the Blazers try and create distractions so teams cannot key on him so easily.

“It depends on how teams guard him,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “We like to set up misdirections so it’s not easy to tag him or cover the roll. That’s where he gets his opportunities.”