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Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson lead rout of Trail Blazers

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange   |   March 12, 2016 at 9:01 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- It wasn't about revenge, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr insisted. "It was about respect."

The defending champs gave the Portland Trail Blazers their undivided attention Friday night, and it resulted in a 128-112 blowout win.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson dominated their matchup with the Portland backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, exploding for 71 points in the helping the Warriors turn the tables on the team that had handed them their most lopsided loss of the season just 22 days earlier.

"There was a sense that this is a good team that's playing well and is very tough to guard," Kerr said of the Trail Blazers, who rode Lillard's 51-point eruption to a 137-105 shocker over the Warriors on Feb. 19. "To me, they are one of the hardest teams in the league to guard. I think our guys understood that challenge, took it on, and played well."

Curry had 34 points and Thompson a game-high 37 as the Warriors (58-6) made it two of three against the Trail Blazers this season with their 47th consecutive home-court win.

Lillard and McCollum (21) went for 72 points in the February game in Portland. But this one was a polar opposite almost from the opening tip.

Thompson poured in four 3-pointers in the first 6:03, helping Golden State take the lead for good at 16-9.

Then Curry, scoreless at that point, took over, dropping in four 3s of his own and adding three two-point hoops in a personal 18-point flurry over the final 4:55 of the period, helping Golden State run up a 40-27 advantage.

The margin reached 20 by halftime, by which point the Warriors had 81 points, and the second half was a mere formality as both teams got an opportunity to rest starters for the second half of a back-to-back upcoming on Saturday night.

Taking better care of the basketball and playing improved defense were points of emphasis in the rematch, the Warriors' Kerr explained, and he was ecstatic about his club's performance in both areas.

"When you don't turn it over, you tend to defend better," said Kerr, whose team tied a season low with eight turnovers. "They made 19 3s, but I didn't feel like our defense was bad."

Curry, who was held to 12 points in Wednesday's win over Utah, surpassed that total in the first 11 minutes this time around. He finished 13-for-23 from the field, including 7-for-14 from 3-point range.

Thompson was even better. He bombed in 13 of his 22 shots, including eight of his 11 3s.

All while being the primary defender on Lillard, who was harassed into 5-for-19 shooting.

"I like taking a challenge of guarding the better players," Thompson boasted. "Obviously, Dame is one of the better guards in the league, so it's fun to measure myself against a guy like that.

"He just had a great game the last time we played him. I was just trying to take away that 3-ball. You try and make him take tough, contested twos and finish over our bigs at the rim."

Thompson's eight 3-pointers gave him 204 for the season, making him and Curry the first set of teammates in NBA history to record 200 3s apiece in a season four years in a row.

Draymond Green had team-high totals in rebounds (13) and assists (seven) to go with 17 points for the Warriors, who have opened a six-game homestand with three consecutive wins.

"It has to be the focus," Green said of the difference in the last two matchups with the Trail Blazers. "You know what they're capable of. Once they get going, it's hard to stop them."

The Warriors shot 44.9 percent from the field and were even better from beyond the 3-point arc, hitting 18 of 40 (45.0 percent).

With the Trail Blazers dropping in 19 of their 36 3-point attempts, the clubs combined for an NBA-record 37 3s, breaking the old mark of 36.

McCollum had 18 points and Lillard 17 for the Trail Blazers (34-32), who were coming off a 116-109 overtime win at home Tuesday over Washington to snap three-game losing streak.

Portland had won 10 in a row when it had had two or more days off leading into the game.

Lillard, who had nine 3-pointers in his 51-point eruption against the Warriors last month, got up only nine attempts this time around, missing five of them.

"I got some similar looks that I've been getting; they didn't go in," the Oakland native observed. "We needed those shots to go in, so that didn't work out for us."

McCollum shot just 6-for-15, although he did hit half his six attempts from 3-point range.

"We scored enough points," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said in assessing the defeat. "It wasn't always pretty, but we found ways to score. When you give up 81 points in the first half, that's a hole."

Backup Gerald Henderson had 12 points and Meyers Leonard recorded a double-double with a team-high 13 rebounds to complement 10 points for the Trail Blazers, who have lost four in a row on the road by an average of 15.3 points.

The loss was costly for Portland in the playoff race. The Trail Blazers began the night in the No. 6 position, but now find themselves tied in the loss column with Dallas (33-32) and Houston (33-32), who are only a half-game behind.

NOTES: Warriors supersub SF Andre Iguodala sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and was taken for x-rays. They were negative, but he's doubtful for the Warriors' home game Saturday night against Phoenix. ... The Warriors also were involved in the previous record-setting night for 3-pointers when they made 21 and Orlando 15 on March 11, 2011. ... PG Damian Lillard scored 51 and 40 points in the Trail Blazers' two previous games against the Warriors this season, giving him the distinction of being the first player since Milwaukee Bucks C Lew Alcindor against Boston in 1969-70 to record consecutive 40-point games against the defending champs. ... Lillard and backcourt mate SG C.J. McCollum held a 129-116 scoring advantage over Warriors PG Stephen Curry and SG Klay Thompson in the first two meetings this season. The Warriors' duo has now taken a 187-164 lead with one matchup (April 3 in Oakland) remaining.

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