On Sunday night, the Moda Center in Portland played host to the most thrilling win of the season for the Golden State Warriors (42-26).
Faced with a seemingly insurmountable 18-point deficit, “Splash Brothers” Steph Curry and Klay Thompson jumpstarted a huge second-half run and led the Warriors to a season-defining road win over the playoff bound Portland Trailblazers (43-24).
All-Star Curry scored 28 of his team-high 37 points, and Thompson scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half, including the game-winning field goal.
The Warriors began the game in low gear, and seemed to be destined for their third loss in a row. The Trailblazers took a 70-52 lead with 7:49 left in the third quarter when Coach Mark Jackson intervened.
Jackson challenged his team “to find their heart,” and made a surprise substitution of Draymond Green for David Lee. This move proved to be the magic touch, as Green provided that ferocious defense, while Curry and Thompson exploded offensively.
Golden State went on a 45-26 run after the timeout, and took the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter at 97-96 with 6:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The final minutes of the game took the breath away from every fan as both teams went back and forth with tremendous shots and stifling defensive displays.
The Warriors believed that they had taken a strong advantage over Portland with a corner three-point field goal from Thompson that gave the team a 110-107 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
The Blazers just would not go away, as Bay Area product and All-Star Damian Lillard drove his team back on top with a thundering dunk and two free throws that gave Portland a 111-110 lead with 20 seconds left.
Curry then took charge and responded by driving the lane and finding an open Harrison Barnes, who in turn spotted an open Thompson who again hit another clutch three-point field goal to give the Warriors the 113-111 lead with 11 seconds left in the game.
This is where the game flew into hyper-drive.
Lillard attempted to drive the lane to tie the game but was unable to convert the lay-up. Blazers forward Nicolas Batum outhustled the Warriors to the rebound and was sent to the foul line.
Batum hit the first free throw but rimmed out the second attempt. After a mad scrum for the ball, Batum ended up with his own rebound but was too late to get off a solid shot, and the Warriors escaped with the gritty victory.
The Blazers were without the services of All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge who sat out the contest with a back injury. Oakland native Lillard led Portland with 26 points, while Batum added 23 points and 14 rebounds in the losing effort.
The win did come at a minor cost, as Andrew Bogut had to come off the floor with an ankle injury, but he was able to get quick treatment and finished the game on the floor. Coach Jackson commented after the game “Bogut will get treatment and be day-to-day”.
The Warriors will return home and face the struggling Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.
Notes: The win put the Warriors 1.5 games behind the Blazers for the fifth seed in the West…. This was the sixth time this season that the Warriors overcame a deficit of 15 points or more for a win…. This was the 500th career game for Bogut…. Over the last two seasons, Curry has made the most three-point field goals in NBA history with 484.