Blazers Finish Preseason 0-4 With Another Loss To Golden State

by Casey Holdahl
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Trail Blazers finished their 2021 exhibition schedule winless with a 119-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 18,064 Friday night at Chase Center in San Francisco.

With the loss, Portland finishes preseason with a 0-4 record, which was bookended with losses to Golden State.

“We had some good moments but we had some moments that I was like ‘Dang, we’re a lot further away than I thought,’” said Billups. “So it’s been a little bit up and down, not really too surprised with it. Any time there’s change, there’s a period in there where it’s going to take some adjusting to. It was a little bit up and down.”

While it’s always nice to win, results aren’t really the point of preseason play. Making improvements is the true goal, and in the first quarter, it seemed as if Portland had made some progress since losing to the Suns by 45 points Wednesday afternoon in Phoenix. They managed to take care of the ball, got balanced scoring and, most importantly, held Golden State to to 29 percent shooting from the field and 1-of-10 shooting from three to take a 27-17 lead into the second quarter.

"In the first half, I thought we did a good job of getting back," said Billups. "I thought we made some gains in today's game. When I stepped in front of y'all after the (Suns) game and I was really disappointed with our effort, our execution. I don't feel that way today. I thought our guys played hard, thought they tried to play the right way."

But if the success they found in the first quarter, particularly on the defensive end, was attributable to their own quality rather than a lack thereof for the Warriors, it didn’t endure as the game went on. They were outscored 81-50 between the second and third quarters, with Stephen Curry doing much of the damage, negating any chance the Trail Blazers would finish their exhibition schedule with a win.

“I thought tonight, for the most part, about the first 20 minutes of the game, we played pretty well. And then that turnover bug jumped on us the last four minutes of the second quarter. They turned those (into points), Steph (Curry) got hot, they turned those into some really big, loud buckets and that’s just kind of how they play.”

With preseason in the books, the Trail Blazers now have four days of preparation before hosting the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in a regular season opener for both teams. While Portland won’t be closed to a finished product at that point, Billups is hopefully that at least a number of players who sat out much of preseason with injuries will be healthy enough to practice, which would also assist in making some headway with regard to instituting a new style of play.

“When you’re practicing and you’re introducing things and you’re changing things and you’ve got three or four or five guys that are in your rotation that can’t do it, it makes it tough,” said Billups. “It makes it really tough. So that’s the biggest concern is health. And then secondly, us trying to get some continuity out there. They kind of coincide with each other.”

CJ McCollum finished with 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting, four assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Norman Powell went 7-of-18 for 18 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds while also tallying three assists and two steals in 20 minutes. Robert Covington added 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting to round out Portland’s double digit scorers.

Stephen Curry finished with a game-high 41 points in 30 minutes. Jordan Poole finished with 16 and Nemanja Bjelica added 12 points off the bench.

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