Trail Blazers Go Into The Break With Big Win Versus Warriors

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers won their first game of the season when trailing going into the fourth quarter with a 129-107 victory versus the Golden State Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 19,549 Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

“Really proud of our team," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Obviously the guys that came off the bench really played well in the second – well the first half and second half. I thought it was an entertaining game, neither team really could get any stops in the first half, but the fact that it got a little chippy in the second half, it was a good game."

The Trail Blazers are now 34-23 overall and 24-8 at home this season. Portland and Golden State finish their season series tied at 2-2.

After a first half that featured 10 lead changes, 12 ties and neither team leading by more than six points, the Warriors went on a 13-3 run, capped by a Kevin Durant dunk, to take an 87-84 lead with 4:37 to play in the third quarter. But while Portland answered back, they still trailed by 95-94 going into the fourth quarter. And considering that the Trail Blazers had lost all 22 instances this season in which they trailed going into the final 12 minutes, their chances for coming away with a win against the reigning NBA Champs seemed slim.

But the momentum shifted squarely into Portland’s favor after an impressive block by Zach Collins with 7:35 to play in regulation. After being blocked on the other end, the 7-0 big in his second season out of Gonzaga seemingly came out of nowhere to block Damion Lee at the rim. On the ensuring possession, Collins drew an offensive foul on Klay Thompson, the two jawed on their walk back up the court, drawing offsetting technical fouls.

“Zach’s plays, I thought, were a turning point – particularly the one where he either gets the ball stripped or blocked and then runs down to the other end and makes the block," said Stotts. "I thought that was kind of a turning point for us because the game was going either way and if they score there, it’s a big turnaround. So that play was big and then he made other effort plays, emotional plays that fired up the team and the crowd."

From there, the Trail Blazers outscored the Warriors 25-4, with eight of those points coming on one possession thanks to flagrant and technical fouls on Draymond Green and Steve Kerr, to pull away for the 22-point victory.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Damian Lillard. "They played last night, so we just wanted to try to keep our energy up, keep the pressure on them and I thought we did a great job of each time they made a little run, we just weathered the storm and stayed with it. It came down to the last few minutes and it kind of got out of control a little bit – we finished it out how we needed to."

TOP PERFORMERS

Eight Trail Blazers finished in double figures led by Damian Lillard, who went 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from three for 29 points to go with eight assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes.

Jake Layman came off the bench to score 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three in 26 minutes. CJ McCollum added 15 points in 24 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic put up a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes while Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu combined to score 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Evan Turner finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes.

Both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant finished with 32 points to lead all scorers. No other Warrior player scored in double figures.

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NOTABLE

• The Trail Blazers finished with just four turnovers, matching a season low.

• Portland improves to 5-0 when all five starters score in double digits.

• Tonight marks the second time Portland has had eight players score in double figures (12/14 vs. TOR) this season. Portland is 2-0 in those games.

• Portland’s bench out-scored Golden State’s by a 52-23 margin.

• The Trail Blazers won their first game of the season when trailing after three quarters (0-22 entering tonight).

• The Warriors’ 12 fourth quarter points were a season low in the fourth by a Portland opponent and the lowest output by Golden State in any quarter this season.

• Portland has defeated Golden State twice in each of the past two seasons, going 2-1 last year and splitting the series 2-2 this season.

• The 22-point victory margin was Portland’s largest vs. Golden State since winning 137-105 on Feb. 19, 2016.

• Tonight’s win marks the second consecutive season the Trail Blazers have defeated the Warriors entering the All-Star break. Portland won last year 123-117 on Feb. 14, 2018.

QUOTABLE

"Two teams going at it, being competitive, not backing down. That's all it was." -- Zach Collins

NEXT UP

The Trail Blazers now have a week off for the All-Star break before starting their longest road trip in recent memory on Thursday, February 21 versus the Nets in Brooklyn. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.