OAKLAND — The sky isn’t falling for the Golden State Warriors after their first home loss of a transcendent season.
The Warriors refused to succumb to any post-defeat anxiety on Sunday, when they beat the Portland Trail Blazers 136-111.
Quite the contrary, according to the best player on the planet.
“If we get depressed over the eighth loss [to Boston on Friday] at this point of the season with our big goals we have looking forward — obviously we need to learn from what happened — but we’ve done some great things this year and hopefully we can continue to do some great things,” Stephen Curry said after a 39 point, six rebound, seven assist performance. “That negative energy and over-analyzing situations or even mild panic is not necessary right now.”
After falling behind early in a fast-paced game, the Dubs maintained their composure, eventually turning the contest into a one-sided affair.
“The bench in the beginning of the second quarter really changed the game defensively for us,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “We started making stops and Portland was scorching hot in that first quarter.”
Offensively, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa were a combined 10-for-13 from the floor, and Brandon Rush hit all three 3-pointers he attempted.
Curry returned to being unguardable, making nine of 13 from behind the arc. Draymond Green secured his 13th triple-double of the year (trailing just Russell Westbrook for most in the league) with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Green credited his teammates afterward.
“If they don’t give me the ball in good spots, I don’t score,” he said. “If they don’t knock down shots, I don’t get assists. And if they don’t box their man out, I don’t get rebounds. It’s a complete team effort, not just something you do on your own.”
A loss in Sunday’s contest would’ve been a major red flag for the Champs as they’re juggling preparing for the playoffs with pursuing the best regular-season record of all time. Portland, playing in the second game of a back-to-back, looked to threaten the Warriors’ first-half supremacy in the first quarter, when they shot 58 percent from the field. But Golden State went to the locker room with a 63-56 lead and remains undefeated when leading at the half.
A true bounceback performance, the Dubs were able to clean up some problem areas as they limited turnovers to 13, “a good number,” Kerr said.
The Warriors, at 69-8, must win four of their remaining five games to beat the record for most wins by an NBA team in a regular season. All of the games on the schedule, except for Tuesday’s tilt against Minnesota, are against playoffs-bound teams.
Golden State players and coaches insist these matchups down the stretch are perfect preparation for the postseason.
“We’re getting so much attention and other teams are bringing their best shot,” Kerr said. “They want to knock us off.”
After Sunday, it remains to be seen if the Dubs will absorb two punches in a row this season.
FEELING AT HOME
Oakland native Damian Lillard ended his hometown cold-shooting streak by netting 38 points on 48 percent shooting. Coming into the matchup, he was 39 percent (44-for-113) from the field, but on Sunday there were stretches where he went shot-for-shot with Curry, not allowing the Dubs to pull away in the third quarter.