On Wednesday night, the Portland Trail Blazers outplayed a Memphis Grizzlies team that was still sore from a comeback win over the Golden State Warriors. On Thursday night, the tables turned a bit, as the Blazers suited up for their third game of a back-to-back-to-back against those same Warriors, who had a day's rest and the bitter taste of that Memphis loss still in their mouths.
And both teams looked their parts in Oakland. The Blazers started the game strong but faded over time, shanking their jumpers and rotating sluggishly to contest those of the Warriors. Golden State capitalized on those late rotations, sinking 52 percent of their shots and 11 of their 20 three-point attempts (as compared to 41 percent and 8-21 from the Blazers). Stephen Curry was the leader on that front, having by far his best game since returning from an ankle injury. His season-high 32 points came on a steady stream of effortless catch-and-shoot threes. Curry hit six of eight from downtown, and also deferred plenty to David Lee, who added 26 points of his own off lefty mid-range pops. Interestingly enough, Monta Ellis hardly scored, shooting just 2-9 for 4 points and instead opting to drive and dish 12 assists to feed the hot hands.
On the other end, LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 18 points but shot just 7-17 due to remarkably solid defense from Lee and Ekpe Udoh off the bench. Aldridge was supported by another big rebounding game from Marcus Camby (16), and a pair of 16-point games off the bench from Nicolas Batum (who was efficient as hell, contract extension be damned) and Jamal Crawford (who was inefficient as hell, as is his wont).
Portland tightened up their defense and cut what had been a double-digit lead to as little as three in the fourth quarter. Lee, Ellis and Curry each connected on some big momentum-busting buckets, though, and the Blazers either turned over or rimmed out their chances to even the score. The final minute or two got a tad sloppy, with the two teams basically handing the ball back and forth with turnovers (Golden State even committed a five-second violation), but the Warriors hit the free throws necessary to keep Portland at arm's length as time expired, winning 101-93.