SPORTS

Warriors Weather Blazers Comeback Attempt to Preserve Victory

The Warriors completed the season sweep of the Trail Blazers, earning a 113-111 win in Portland on Sunday night. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 33 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points, including nine in the final 37 seconds to help the Dubs escape with the narrow victory. It marks the fifth time this season both Durant and Thompson have scored at least 25 points in the same game, and Golden State is a perfect 5-0 in those contests. With the win, the Warriors improve to 41-7 on the season.

After Portland shot out to an 8-4 lead, Golden State responded with a 9-0 run, and the Warriors never trailed from that point on.

Playing without Stephen Curry for the first time this season, the Dubs knew they were going to need scoring from some nontraditional places, and the Warriors filled that void with a team effort. Zaza Pachulia scored six points in the first seven minutes to keep Golden State in it in the early going, and soon after, Kevin Durant began to put his stamp on the game. He’d go on to lead all scorers with 11 points in the first quarter, while also leading the Dubs with three rebounds and two assists. His one three-pointer in the frame came in fitting non-traditional fashion:

Golden State would go on to take a 33-24 lead at the end of the first quarter, despite the fact that Portland possessed a 14-6 advantage in points in the paint. The Trail Blazers shot nearly 46 percent from the floor in the opening frame, but the Warriors would put the clamps on them to start the second. Shaun Livingston, who started in Curry’s place, ignited a Warriors’ fast break with a strip of C.J. McCollum and found Andre Iguodala on the other end, who promptly completed a three-point play for the Dubs’ first points of the quarter.

Livingston would score Golden State’s next field goal for his first points of the night, and the Warriors would keep rolling from there. After Mason Plumlee cut the deficit to 45-30 with a dunk at the 6:39 mark, Golden State responded with a 6-0 burst over the next minute to take their largest lead of the night. Durant’s jumper to cap that sequence would end up being the Warriors’ final field goal of the quarter, however, as Portland got right back in it with a 20-2 run to close the half, trimming Golden State’s lead to 53-50 going into halftime.

Allen Crabbe would bring the Blazers within one with a three-pointer less than four minutes into the third quarter, and would sink another one to tie the game at 64-64 at the 6:56 mark. The two sides would then trade 4-0 spurts, with Plumlee tying the game once more at 68 all. Klay Thompson would then convert two free throws on the ensuing possession, and that would ignite a 16-6 Golden State run to close out the frame, as the Warriors took an 84-74 advantage into the fourth and final quarter.

After McCollum opened the fourth with a three-pointer, the two sides would trade baskets until Maurice Harkless followed another McCollum trey with a dunk to pull Portland within 90-86 with 8:52 left to play. The Trail Blazers would cut the deficit to a single point on two separate occasions in the next two minutes, and Al-Farouq Aminu’s layup would tie the game at 93 with 6:30 left to play. Andre Iguodala would sink his third three-pointer of the second half on the next possession, but Damian Lillard would answer right back with a layup 13 seconds later. That’s as close as Portland would get, however, as the Warriors would respond with a 10-4 burst to regain a bit of breathing room. After Evan Turner brought the Blazers within 101-99 with 1:42 remaining, Durant and Thompson made a jumper and three-pointer in succession to put Golden State up 106-99 with 37 seconds left to play. Lillard would make all three of his free throws on the ensuing possession, and McCollum’s fifth three-pointer of the game cut the score to 109-107 with 17.8 seconds remaining. That put Klay Thompson front and center in the spotlight, and the All-Star Reserve would respond in clutch fashion.

He’d sink both free throws after being fouled on the ensuing inbound to rebuild the lead to four, and would do so once again with 10 seconds left to bookend an Evan Turner score. Turner would follow the last of Thompson’s free throws with another layup, and he’d have a chance for a game-winning shot at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt went awry. Portland was unable to tip in the resulting rebound, and Golden State escaped with the 113-111 victory.

With the win, the Warriors improve to 41-7 on the season. They’ll now head home for the second and final matchup with the Hornets this season on Wednesday.