Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard‘s homecoming wasn’t quite as warm as he’d hoped.
The Golden State Warriors (58-6) trounced Portland 128-112 Friday night, scoring 81 first-half points and shooting more than 50 percent to exact revenge for their worst loss of the season, a 32-point drubbing at the Moda Center last month.
Forward Draymond Green said:
“You had to be focused because you know what they’re capable of. If you come out not being defensive then, once they get going, it’s hard to stop them. It’s definitely important to know that, and to have that respect.
Golden State made their own way against the Trail Blazers (34-32), but didn’t come out unscathed. Curry banged knees with a Portland defender and was pulled from the floor, though he clearly wasn’t fond of the decision.
Curry returned minutes later, but then Iguodala hit the deck after a collision and didn’t waste any time heading back to the locker room with a trainer.
The first half of a back to back went smoothly otherwise.
After being let go by Cleveland, Golden State signed rebound machine Anderson Varejao to a small-money contract, and he seems to be getting comfortable in his role with the Warriors.
The 33-year-old Brazillian big man played small minutes but his impact was clear. Varejao scored four points, but his six rebounds came at all the right times.
Head coach Steve Kerr said:
“I thought he was terrific. He’s been great ever since he’s been here. He fits right in with what we do. Just the passing, the ball movement. He’s a very crafty rebounder and defender. He knows where to be and has been a great addition.”
“I’m getting used to the pace that they play, it’s fast. I wasn’t playing much in Cleveland, and I still need to get my cardio and everything back. But I am feeling pretty good, am getting used to playing with these guys. What to do, screens and rolls, and all that. … I like the way they plays the game here. Like the way they play offense and defense. Like the way the ball moves. The bodies are always moving and it never stops, and it’s good.”
After 12 seasons with the Cavaliers, Varejao was given a pink slip before the trade deadline and the Warriors swooped in. He was a superstar in the making during much of his youth, but a series of injuries seemed to derail much of his momentum.
With the Warriors, Varejao has a defined role that he seems to be comfortable with. Especially being on a team that has an open championship window for the foreseeable future, opposite of the Cleveland teams who were hardly in games for years.
His opponents Friday night were all the Cavaliers were in the last NBA finals. They weren’t going down lifelessly.
The Blazers closed a 24-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to 17 with five minutes remaining. Their late surge wasn’t soon or strong enough. By the time Green was fouled for the and-one by Noah Vonleh at the 4:40 mark, the game seemed to be over.
Curiously, the starting five — save Bogut, who had been replaced by Marreese Speights — remained on the floor, putting Curry, Barnes, Green and Thompson over the 30-minute mark with a game looming less than 24 hours later.
The result was history.
Golden State and Portland combined for the most three pointers in NBA history, 37, and Lillard also set the record for most threes in a player’s first four seasons with four on the night and 785 in his career.
Thompson had previously held the record with 784. Golden State’s shooting guard said:
“It’s awesome. Good for him. Records are meant to be broken. You can argue the game is changing. You saw so many three point shots tonight. I think it’s good for the game, good for spacing and shooting is a premium in the NBA now.”
The Warriors 81 first-half points were the first since Portland walloped Denver 130-113 in November of last season. Golden State will try to outshine the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena Saturday night.