Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Golden State Warriors.
There are just two regular season games left. We made it, y'all! Now all that remains is figuring out the playoff matchups, and thankfully tonight’s game is quite meaningful in that regard.
The Blazers are chasing the Rockets for the fourth seed, and the Warriors are chasing the Blazers for the fifth seed. As long as the Blazers can win one of their next two games, they’ll be locked into that fifth seed. If they win out, and the Rockets lose their final two games, they’ll leapfrog Houston for the fourth seed. If the Blazers lose their next two, and the Warriors win their final three games, the Blazers will fall to the sixth seed. So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
My brain hurts. All that the above is saying is that Portland needs a win tonight to avoid potentially dropping any further in the standings.
Unfortunately, they’ll be going up against one of the most electrifying players in the league, Steph Curry. I still have PTSD from his crossover the last time these two teams met, a Warriors victory that saw them come back from 18 down. Mama, there goes that man.
Good thing the regular season is almost over, because Mark Jackson is running out of assistant coaches to fire. Given the pre-season expectations this season has been a bit of a disappointment for Golden State, but they still could be one of the most dangerous teams come playoff time. Steph Curry is that good.
But first they'll have to get through Portland. Sure, it has been against much inferior opponents, but the Blazers have won three straight and are peaking at just the right time. Even better, Joel Freeland is back on the active roster tonight and may seem some playing time. It's a nice change for a team that looked left for dead just a few weeks ago.
You know what else has been left for dead? The Portland winter. It's almost a shame to get out of the sunshine and into a stuffy arena. Maybe we can move this one over to window-filled Memorial Coliseum?
Portland is rocking the white Rip City uniforms tonight. Win or lose, they'll do so in style.
11:31 - The Blazers start with Damian Lillard defending Steph Curry (oh no!), and it resulted in a Curry turnover (oh yes!). LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez followed that up with the world's slowest pick and roll that somehow was successful. 2-0 Blazers.
9:35 - Steph Curry with the three-pointer, and there was way too much cheering in the Moda Center. The Warriors fans travel well, apparently. 7-4 Warriors.
7:11 - Batum tweaked his ankle on that last play and is clearly hobbled. Andre Iguodala took advantage by draining a three from the top of the key. 14-8 Warriors.
6:37 - Yeah, Batum is not right. He was able to get Klay Thompson in the air (for Klay's second foul of the game), but Nicolas is fighting through some pain right now. Please don't let it be anything major. 14-9 Warriors.
3:16 - Thomas Robinson is off the bench, providing his typical energy to this Portland team. They are on a 5-0 run, and his offensive rebound and nice dish gave LaMarcus a shot at two free throws to tie it. Unfortunately, Aldridge was only able to split the pair. 16-15 Warriors.
2:47 - Robinson offensive rebound, Robinson put back. He's doing some things. 17-16 Blazers.
1:31 - The refs almost gave an out of bounds call to the Warriors, and this place was ready to explode. Luckily for the refs, they got the call right and gave it back to Portland. 21-19 Blazers.
0:40 - Dang, Thomas Robinson. He's doing everything. He just threw up a prayer in the lane and he was falling down and somehow managed to get it to fall. That's four points, three rebounds, and one assist for the big man. He doesn't want to lose those playoff minutes to Joel Freeland. 23-19 Blazers.
0:00 - Dorell Wright had a breakaway with two seconds left in the quarter, rushing to get to the rim before the quarter expired. Not only did he not get the shot off in time, he missed the point blank layup at the rim. 23-19 Blazers.
10:44 - That's two point blank misses for Robin Lopez, and six points in the last two minutes that the Blazers have missed out on. 26-21 Blazers.
9:58 - Jermaine O'Neal and Robin Lopez are out here fouling each other like it's their job. Wait...it is their job? Okay, carry on. 26-21 Blazers.
8:43 - Here's a list of the three inactive players on the Warriors' bench tonight: Ognjen Kuzmic, Nemanja Nedovic, and Festus Ezeli. If basketball were Scrabble, the Warriors would be unbeatable. 30-23 Blazers.
6:24 - The Warriors got a call their way, getting possession after Andrew Bogut knocked it out of bounds. On their next possession, they turned it over on an offensive foul on Klay Thompson, his third. Portland will take that trade off every time. 34-27 Blazers.
5:22 - The refs have suddenly started calling this one tight, and the crowd is none too happy. Steph Curry seemed to get fouled on the floor behind the three-point line, but the refs called it a shooting foul. Of course he knocked all three freebies down. 36-32 Blazers.
3:38 - Just like that, the Warriors have tied this one up. That's twelve points for Steph Curry, and Portland doesn't have anyone that can slow him down. To be fair, I don't think most teams have anyone that can slow him down. 38-38 Tie.
2:26 - This game is just foul after foul. Don't these refs know some of us need to get home in time for Game of Thrones? 42-38 Blazers.
1:06 - Go figure, another foul. After a Harrison Barnes three briefly gave the Warriors the lead, Robin Lopez tied it back up with two free throws. 44-44 Tie.
0:24 - Steph Curry missed a layup at the rim, got the rebound, and ducked back to the three-point line and hit from distance instead. Really? Can't hit at the rim, but can hit from deep? That's bonkers. 49-44 Warriors.
0:00 - Steph with one last shot as time expired, but the three came up a foot short. He started emphatically barking for a foul, and yep, the refs called it well after time expired. The Blazers were already headed for the locker room that call was so late. So, with no time left, Curry steps to the line and knocks down all three free throws. The Blazers limp into the locker room after giving up an 8-0 run in a little over a minute. 52-44 Warriors.
11:40 - Well, the third didn't start much better. The Blazers turned it over, and the Warriors got a fast break dunk from Iggy. 54-44 Warriors.
10:00 - The Blazers get two turnovers of their own, and have capitalized with four straight points from LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. 54-50 Warriors.
9:32 - Curry stops the bleeding with a three-point play the old fashioned way. He has 24 points on the night. He is good. 57-50 Warriors.
8:40 - A 1-8 shooting night? No problem. Dame just pulled a wicked step back on the best perimeter defender in the league, Andre Iguodala, like it was nothing. 57-55 Warriors.
6:36 - Klay Thompson was much more enjoyable when he was in foul trouble. He's got the last eight points for Golden State, and is keeping every Portland run at bay. 65-57 Warriors.
4:32 - David Lee missed two free throws, and Wesley Matthews picked up an and one on the other end. That's a huge five point swing, as the Blazers are just barely holding on right now. 67-62 Warriors.
2:43 - Well, I don't think that was the look the Warriors were hoping for. Harrison Barnes dribbled at the top of the key for around five seconds, then jacked a three with a hand in his face. He came up about two feet too short. Portland ball. 69-65 Warriors.
2:08 - Blazers lead? Blazers lead. A three from Matthews and a pull up from Mo Williams just gave Portland their first lead since the second quarter. Wesley was dropped in the middle of the floor by a hard Jermaine O'Neal screen, but I'm sure he'd take that every time if it meant a win. 70-69 Blazers.
1:00 - Back to back threes for the Blazers! That second one was a beauty, too. Wesley had Steph Curry in the post, who was getting extra physical on defense. Mo Williams tried to throw an entry pass, and Curry trucked Matthews. Wesley was still able to come up with the ball, stepped back behind the three-point line, and swish. Golden State needs time. 76-71 Blazers.
0:00 - Once again, Portland is unable to close the quarter strongly. It was just a 4-0 run from the Warriors, but that's enough to have drained a bit of the energy from the arena. It's going to be a wild fourth. 76-75 Blazers.
11:00 - Batum draws first blood in the fourth, taking it strong to the hole. This game is starting to feel pretty playoff-y. Both teams have ratcheted up the intensity. 78-75 Blazers.
9:29 - We've got good Mo here in the fourth. He's shooting a ton, but he's making them. 84-77 Blazers.
8:55 - Lillard for three! The Warriors completely lost him a screen, and he had his best look of the night. Portland has somehow opened up a ten point lead and Golden State needs time. 87-77 Blazers.
8:23 - Steph Curry stopped the bleeding, but Good Mo picked up and and one on the other end. 90-79 Blazers.
6:57 - This. Game. Both teams are just hitting shot after shot, three after three. First team to miss loses. 95-88 Blazers.
6:28 - Steph Curry has forty points. Steph Curry can't miss. Steph Curry rules everything around me. This is the best performance we've seen at the Moda all year. Dude is flinging fire balls out of his eyes. 95-91 Blazers.
5:20 - Curry missed! He's human! 95-93 Blazers.
3:28 - Four straight points for LaMarcus Aldridge, and he should have received a foul call on other other shot. Portland needed that life raft, because Curry was about to drown them. 99-95 Blazers.
2:15 - With Curry looking drained, Klay Thompson takes his spot and drains a three right over Damian Lillard. Klay only has fourteen points, but it feels closer to thirty with the amount of big shots he's hit. 99-98 Blazers.
0:54 - Two calls here late have gone Portland's way, only to be overturned upon further review. Rough luck, especially because Klay was able to hit on the next possession for the Warriors. 102-101 Warriors.
0:24 - Aldridge gets the foul call after he ran into Robin Lopez trying to shoot off of an offensive rebound. Not much there in terms of contact from the other team, but the Blazers will take it. LaMarcus was able to drain both. The Blazers need a stop. 103-102 Blazers.
0:12 - Golden State went to Curry. He got a nice angle to the rim, but threw it up just short over the outstretched arm of Aldridge. Matthews grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Two free throws, two makes. 105-102 Blazers.
0:04 - The Blazers do an amazing job of getting the ball out of Curry's hands. He dished to Draymond Green, who stepped back...and drained the three. We're all tied up. Portland with one last chance. 105-105 Tie.
0:00 - Portland got Matthews a fadeaway three out of the timeout, which clanked off the rim long. We've got free basketball. 105-105 Tie.
4:36 - Batum starts the scoring with a corner three. Now, let's get that defense working! 108-105 Blazers.
3:23 - Iggy tried to throw a half-court alley oop but caught rim instead. It deflected off, Portland ball. I'm sure the Warriors would very much like to have that possession back, as this is not the time to be getting fancy. 110-108 Blazers.
2:40 - Stephen Curry misses a long two, and nobody bothers to go after the long rebound. He jogs after if, steps back, and drills the three-point attempt. Ugh. That's 47 points on the night for Curry. 111-110 Warriors.
2:18 - Wesley answers back with a traditional three-point play. 113-111 Blazers.
2:00 - And then Klay Thompson drains a three on the other end. This game is bananas. 114-113 Warriors.
1:11 - Matthews for three! It rimmed off, shot straight up in the air, and then fall back through. What a bounce! 116-114 Blazers.
0:48 - Klay Thompson again! Another three! I can't take this. 117-116 Warriors.
0:40 - Aldridge answers with a long jumper. If I don't update again, it's because I've died from hyperventilation. 118-117 Blazers.
0:09 - Curry missed! Aldridge played him perfectly. The Blazers had a chance to run the majority of the clock out, and did so with Lillard at the top of the key. He drove, picked up a foul (the sixth on Klay Thompson!), and Dame is headed to the line for two free throws. First one down! Second one...off! No! Iggy grabbed the rebound and called time. Golden State ball, and they will likely go for the win. I don't ever want this game to end. 119-117 Blazers.
0:00 - The Warriors got a chance for the win with Iguodala. He had a perfect look from deep...and fired it long! The rebound bounced to the Blazers, and this one is all over. Wow.
FINAL: 119-117 Blazers. Game of the year? Game of the year. That was an amazing shooting display from both teams. Steph finished with 47 points. I can't even...wow. There were so many big shots, so many clutch plays. I'll take seven more of those in the playoffs, please.