Coming off a big win against the Miami Heat that saw them cement themselves as playoff contenders in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers tried to rally against the Golden State Warriors after a slow start but came up a little short in a 103-97 loss.
The loss to the Warriors snapped Portland’s four-game win streak that saw them become one of the bigger threats in the NBA and Western Conference. This is not to say, however, that losing to Golden State is a travesty. The Warriors are currently off to one of their best starts in franchise history; and with a record that stands at 23-12, they are right in the mix for a playoff spot come the end of the year.
Despite a slow start that saw them put up just 35 points in the first half (19 in the 1st quarter, 16 in the 2nd), Portland fought their way back in the second half by putting up an impressive third and fourth quarter. Damian Lillard had a career night by putting up 37 points in the losing effort, though he would likely trade his big night for a win. The big night for Lillard also came in his home town, where a plethora of friends and family came out to see this young superstar play.
Here is what we loved and hated from last night’s loss.
Lillard’s Big Night
As mentioned just a moment ago, Lillard dazzled in front of his hometown fans as he put up 37 points, the most of his career. The rookie showed that he has the potential to be one of the league’s best scorers and players — potential that should come to fruition as his career progresses.
Not only did Lillard put up a lot of points on Friday, he did so by setting Portland’s record for three-pointers made in a game by hitting seven from beyond the arc, significantly contributing to his point total on the night. The effort by Lillard also helped to bring the Blazers back in the second half as he scored 29 of his 37 points in the second half.
In fact, Lillard scored 24 of his points in an 11 minute period that made this game a lot more interesting than it had previously been.
After playing a nail-biter the previous night in Portland against the Miami Heat, it’s not too difficult to see why the Blazers may have seemed a little tired and drawn out at the start of Friday’s game. As that was the case, the early deficit could have had Portland throw in the towel early. That would not be the case, however, as the Blazers came out on fire in the second half and showed that they would not give up in any game.
Though their second half rally came up short, it was a valiant effort after a slow start that was lackluster at best.
While Damian Lillard had a huge night for the Blazers, no other Blazer had what could be considered even a decent game. As a team the Blazers shot just 38% from the floor, a rather unimpressive number that was already aided by Lillard’s big night.
Likely a consequence of being partially exhausted from their game the previous night, the team needs to put together better shooting efforts if they want to continue to contend in the West.
That being said, as poor as Portland’s shooting was last night, it is important to note that this was just one loss in a streak that elevated the Blazers to one of the more dangerous teams in the nation. The Blazers are nor 12-4 in their past 16 games, an impressive mark that should continue Portland’s path towards the NBA playoffs.