Trail Blazers Down Defending Champion Warriors
PORTLAND – The Trail Blazers defeated the NBA’s best Wednesday night with a 123-117 win over the Warriors before a raucous sellout crowd of 19,520 at Moda Center. Damian Lillard continued his historic scoring run with 44 points on 14-for-25 shooting (12-12 FT), while CJ McCollum added 29 (12-26 FG) for Portland.
"It might be our best win as far as the quality of the opponent, how we started the game, how we weathered the storm, how focused we were defensively," said Lillard after another standout performance. "We scored points like we need to, and we had a presence on the defensive end."
With the win, the Trail Blazers move to 32-26, sixth in the Western Conference, as they head to the All-Star break. Portland also improves to 17-11 at home after winning 10 of their past 11 games at Moda Center. The Trail Blazers also ended a seven-game losing streak against the Warriors, winning for the first time since February 19, 2016.
The Trail Blazers used a 13-0 first-quarter run to take a 19-8 lead and led by as many as 20 points in the first quarter at 38-18. Golden State came back to tie the game for the first time since that point at 99-99 in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors never led after the 8-6 advantage early in the first quarter. Portland sealed the win behind a pair of late free throws from Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu and Lillard.
"You're always walking a fine line when you're playing a team like that because of how good they are and the runs that they can make," said Head Coach Terry Stotts. "And the fact that we didn't give in - yes, they made their runs, but it wasn't prolonged and they didn't put multiple runs together, and we were able to withstand it."
After games of 50 points at Sacramento and 39 points vs. Utah, Lillard becomes the first player in franchise history and the only NBA player this season to score at least 39 points in three straight games. Lillard’s 133 points over the past three games represent the most points scored in franchise history during any three-game period (Brandon Roy, 119 – Dec. 12-18, 2008).
• Lillard scored 18 of his 44 points in the first quarter, the second-most points he has scored in any quarter this season. He added a game-best eight assists on the night.
• CJ McCollum scored 17 of his 29 points in the second half.
• Jusuf Nurkic (17 points, 13 rebounds) recorded his career-high 14th double-double of the season.
• Aminu also nearly posted a double-double with nine points (3-4 FG) and 11 rebounds.
• Kevin Durant scored a new season-high 50 points (17-27 FG, 10-10 FT), the fifth 50-point game of his NBA career.
• Portland outrebounded Golden State in the first half by a count of 30-19 and held a 49-41 margin by the final horn.
• Lillard has now made a 3-pointer in 40 straight games, two shy of his own franchise record for a single season (42, 11/22/16-3/7/17).
"We're getting strong play from Moe, we got strong games from Nurk, strong game from CJ, Chief, Ed - I mean everybody is coming with that energy. For us to be one of those final teams, we've got to be able to be the one of those teams that has it." - Damian Lillard
The Trail Blazers head into All-Star Weekend, with the NBA All-Star Game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. Lillard will be making his third All-Star Game appearance, representing Team Steph on TNT starting at 5 p.m.
With an extended All-Star break, the Trail Blazers don’t return to action until Friday, Feb. 23 at Utah, tipoff from Salt Lake City at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM. Portland then plays in Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back before returning to Moda Center to face the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 27.