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Green, Warriors, clamp Portland, roll to sixth-straight win

New coaching staff, same result. The Portland Trailblazers overhauled their bench this offseason, bringing in Chauncey Billups to help get them over the hump — but these Warriors have had their number, regardless of who calls the plays.

Golden State (17-2) continued their dominance with a 118-103 romp Friday, which wasn’t as close as the final score lends you to believe.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.

A late surge from Anfernee Simons gave the Blazers (10-10) a bit of false hope and made the score respectable, but the Warriors controlled this game from the opening tip.

A new coaching staff and defensive philosophy wasn’t enough to make any sort of difference against the Warriors. Gone was the simple drop coverage that former Portland coach Terry Stotts employed that Stephen Curry and the rest of the team consistently ate up.

In its place was a mix of blitzes, doubles, hedges with the occasional drop — and yet, none of them bothered the Warriors offense.

Draymond Green said the Blazers defense was very different than what they’ve seen in the past:

Their defense at the point of attack was a lot better than I’ve seen it, so you’ve got to give them some credit, it took us a little while to figure it out… It was a lot more aggressive.”

The usual MO with the old Portland teams was to just run Curry pick-and-rolls all day, because if there’s one coverage that never works against the former MVP, it’s to give him space coming off screens.

But with the new schemes the Warriors relied on Curry offball more often. The results were still the same though: Curry looking unstoppable offensively.

Juan Toscano-Anderson said that having willing passers around Curry makes him so much more dangerous:

“It’s really hard to defend Steph Curry, that’s obvious to everyone in the world… but when you’ve got a bunch of guys willing to pass the ball, bunch of selfless guys. it’s a lot of fun with everyone touching the ball. It’s a team effort.”

Curry ended the night with 32 points, six 3’s and eight assists and imposed his will whenever he was on the court. He also got a bunch of help from the rest of the starting lineup, which isn’t always the case.

All five starters reached double figures in scoring and they combined for 92 of the team’s 118 points. While their offense will get most of the headlines, it was the Golden State defense that really shined.

They held the Blazers to just 41 percent shooting from the field as CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard shot a combined 11-of-32 for just 16 points apiece.

Of course, that was led by Draymond Green who continued his tradition of putting the Blazers in absolute hell whenever he plays them.

Green provided swarming help, took turns on perimeter scorers and just generally quarterbacked the team’s defense, while he stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 12 assists, eight boards, two steals and three blocks.

Steve Kerr said Green and Curry work so well together, it’s fun to watch:

… those two guys have been doing this for a decade now. They seem to just read each other’s thoughts. They know how to put each other in a great position to attack… They’ve been doing this for so long, they’ve both been so good for so long. I’m just used to seeing it… They were pretty damn good back then too.”

One of the most noticeable differences from last season is Green’s conditioning.

He’s back to flying around on closeouts and then recovering to block shots at the rim, whereas last season he looked slowfooted at times.

Green did test positive for Covid last season and it looked like that was a big part of his down season last year.

One play really exemplified his energy this season, he closed out aggressively on Larry Nance Jr. on the perimeter — too aggressively actually.

He over-pursued and slid past Nance, which let the Blazers reserve blow by him in a straight line to the basket.

But Green tracked him down, beat him to the rim, got in front of him and blocked his shot while backpedaling.

If you’re Portland it’s not a new sight, as Green routinely shows off his defensive acumen against the Blazers.

And if you’re the Warriors, it’s just another example of how the core of this team has turned back the clock to those championship years.

Up Next

A quick two-game road trip awaits the Warriors, with short flights to Los Angeles (11-8) and Phoenix (16-3). They go down south first where they’ll match up with Paul George and the LA Clippers Sunday. The Clips have had a rough go recently losing three of their last five contests, including two in a row against the Grizzlies and Pelicans.

Notes

The Warriors have won 10 straight games at home and are currently in the midst of their second six-game winning streak of this young season.


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