By: Colby Chang
Follow me on twitter @colbychang22
The Warriors faced off with the Portland Trail Blazers after blazing past the Wizards just the previous night. Shaun Livingston sat out the game in hopes of resting his body for the playoffs. The Blazers have been struggling ever since they lost Wesley Matthews to a torn Achilles tendon, and Arron Afflalo just hasn’t cut it in their lineup (posting a huge net negative rating in comparison to Matthews’s strong positive net rating). Both Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge were injured as well. The Warriors had nothing to really worry about with this matchup, especially having Klay Thompson back from his ankle injury (and hopefully in top form).
This game did not begin especially well for the Dubs, who saw a quick Portland lead. Both teams initially struggled to sink shots but then hit their strides as the two offensive powerhouses began to show themselves. The Blazers were not especially efficient, but their control on the ball resulted in them having many shot opportunities. Damian Lillard proved he could pick up the slack, making hard shots and dishing a couple nice assists as well. The Trail Blazers’s aggressive yet smart play shot them to a 30-26 lead after the first.
Golden State rebounded a bit in the second, with Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala hitting some nice jumpers to attempt to cut into the small lead, but to no avail. CJ McCollum stepped it up in a big way in the absence of his dominant teammates by preserving that lead through his unrelenting effort. On one particular fast break, Steph showed off his hops with a nice one handed jam. That could not bring the energy up enough, however, as Damian Lillard kept up his superstar level play, albeit a bit inefficiently. The half ended at 57-62.
Portland dropped off heavily in the third quarter, due in part to the Warriors’s increased defensive effort. The Blazers could not score from anywhere on the court, missing most of their threes, mid-range shots, and attempts in the paint. Andrew Bogut showed his imposing presence, grabbing rebound after rebound, causing Trail Blazers to shy away from the paint and settle for low percentage mid-range shots. The Warriors absolutely dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, as they bullied the weak interior defense for almost half of their third quarter points. The Dubs came out of the third quarter up 93-80.The fourth quarter saw an increased effort out of Portland, yet they were not able to overcome that 13 point lead. Golden State continued to shoot at a ridiculous percentage, sinking 60% of their attempts throughout the game. The Trail Blazers shot a much more meager 42%, accounting somewhat for their loss. The Warriors’s team play also accounted for their decisive victory, as they out-assisted Portland 37-23. The game ended at a score of 122-108, as the Warriors clinched the Pacific Divison title for the first time in 39 years.
Notable Contributors: Andre Iguodala shot with a ridiculous efficiency, going 9 for 11 from the field and 3 of 4 from three point range. He also pulled down 4 boards and had 4 assists. Stephen Curry had a double double, piling up 33 points (with 5 three pointers) and 10 assists. He out-dueled Damian Lillard, who made more three pointers yet shot a much less impressive clip. CJ McCollum came off the bench and, in just under 29 minutes, hit 9 shots for 23 points.
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Stephen Curry) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons