Trail Blazers Unable To Withstand Second-Quarter Run In Loss To Warriors

by Casey Holdahl
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Portland Trail Blazers’ continued their season-long issues on the road with a 118-103 loss to the Golden State Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 18,064 Friday night at Chase Center in San Francisco.

The Trail Blazers are now 10-10 overall have won just once in 10 tries on the road this season. With the loss, Portland currently sits in a tie with the Lakers for sixth in the Western Conference after 20 games.

While it would be a stretch to say the Trail Blazers played well for most of the first half, they did managed to keep the game close versus a Warriors squad with the best record in the NBA. Their shots weren’t falling and they had the same difficulties defending Golden State that most teams endure, but thanks in large part to turning seven turnovers into 17 points, Portland found themselves tied at 42-42 with 2:49 to play in the first half.

But after a two-season hiatus, the Warriors have returned to being one those teams that can shoot an opponent out of a game in a hurry. That’s exactly what they did Friday night, closing out the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter on a 16-2 run to take a 58-44 lead into the intermission.

“It was a combination of letting our guard down a little bit,” said Anfernee Simons. “We got into a comfortable space, we felt like we were in the game but knowing the Warriors, that can end very quickly... Letting our guard down and they hit a lot of tough shots. Steph hit a tough shot at the end of the half but they was already on a run at that time. I think we’ve got to keep our focus in for the whole game, especially against a team as good as them.”

And with assistant coach Scott Brooks being assessed two technicals as the team went into the halftime locker room -- Stephen Curry would make one of two from the line -- Portland started the second half down 15.

“We was in a good position, we were really in a good position and there were three plays that we felt should have been fouls,” said Chauncey Billups. “Doesn’t happen, boom, they come down, score, obviously they went on a great run, that’s what they do. We just felt bad about it. If it wasn’t Scottie it might have been me.”

The Warriors pushed the lead up to as many as 21 points in the third quarter, and while Anfernee Simons’ fourth-quarter effort got Portland to within single digits on a number of occasions, there was never any reason to believe the result was in doubt.

“They came out, jumped on us and I was just proud of our guys, we just kept fighting,” said Billups. “We kept scrapping, it was a game. They kind of pulled away from us in the fourth but I was happy, we played extremely hard today. They played their butts off.”

Simons, who sat out Wednesday’s loss in Sacramento due to an upper respiratory illness, led Portland with 19 on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 shooting from three to go with six rebounds, three steals and two assists in 29 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic went 6-of-10 from the field for 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 24 minutes. Both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum finished with 16 points, with the former handing out six assists and the latter grabbing seven rebounds.

Norman Powell went 6-of-9 for 15 points, two rebounds and two assists before leaving the game with a left quad contusion at the 2:42 mark of the third quarter. He would not return.

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the field and 6-of-15 shooting from three. Andrew Wiggins added 25 and Draymond Green put up the game’s lone double-double with 12 points and 12 assists in 34 minutes.

The Trail Blazers now have two days off before facing the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City in the third game of a three-game trip Monday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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