PORTLAND, Ore. — The Warriors got a glimpse of what life without Stephen Curry might look like Sunday in Portland.
Playing their first game of the season without the reigning MVP, who was out with stomach illness, the Warriors received all they could handle from the Blazers in a 113-111 thriller.
The Blazers (21-28) had four chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter but couldn’t find a go-ahead basket. The final attempt to push ahead left Warriors (41-7) coach Steve Kerr’s heart in his stomach, as Blazers guard Evan Turner came open in the closing seconds from 3-point range.
“I was drawing up my play to run at the other end thinking we were about to be down one,” Kerr said of the try. “It looked good from our angle. I was right behind him. The shot was dead on line, just a little short.”
Blazers center Mason Plumlee batted the ball toward the rim, but the slap didn’t find the net and the Warriors survived to take the 4-0 season sweep over the Blazers.
Kevin Durant paced the Dubs with 33 points, but did so on an up-and-down shooting night, which included a 6-for-17 shooting spell in the middle of the game. Klay Thompson provided cushion late in the fourth when he connected one of his two 3-point makes with 38 seconds remaining to make it a seven-point lead.
It was a rare make for Thompson who scored 27 points, on a woeful 6-for-21 shooting night.
The shot appeared to seal the win, but Portland would score on three consecutive possessions to cut it back to two. An offensive foul on Durant with six seconds remaining, as he battled for position on an in-bounds play, allowed the Blazers their final look at the basket.
“I like my money, so that was an offensive foul,” said Durant, who pleaded to no avail with officials following the call. “I’ll leave it at that.”
The Curry-less Warriors missed the star’s deft perimeter shooting stroke, connecting on just 8-of-26 tries from deep. The eight 3-pointers marks the second-lowest total of made triples this season and the 30.8 percentage ranks as the ninth-worst perimeter-shooting night of the season.
“I think we just ran our offense,” said Draymond Green, who connected on just one of his six tries from deep. “When we got away from that we struggled. When we ran our offense, we played well.”
The Warriors raced to a 21-point first half lead, but Golden State missed its final seven shots of the first half and the Blazers closed on a 20-2 run to trail by three at the break. The Dubs’ 20-point second quarter is the third-lowest output in a second quarter this season.
“I could see our guys didn’t have a ton of energy, they had to really gut it out,” Kerr said. “We had that big lead early and we just kind of stopped playing the last five minutes of the second quarter. We had to rebuild from there.”
The Warriors received a jolt from 3-point range from an unlikely source to close out the third quarter. Andre Iguodala, the team’s fifth-most prolific 3-point shooter, connected on consecutive tries, the second a Curry-esque pull-up that gave the Warriors a 12-point lead just before the end of the third quarter.
“I’ve seen him hit it before,” Durant said. “Great shots, big shots heading into the fourth.”
The Warriors will have two days off for Curry to feel better before returning home for a tilt with Charlotte on Wednesday.NBA