Warriors' Thompson shoots down Blazers
PORTLAND — Warriors guard Klay Thompson was getting pestered by Portland’s Wesley Matthews, so in a split second he scrapped his plans to drive to the hoop and instead just shot on the run.
The shot fell with 8.9 seconds left on the clock, and Thompson finished with 29 points in Golden State’s 95-90 victory over the Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
“If I had a jumper I was going to shoot it and if he was on my hip I was going to try to get to the rim,” Thompson said. “Since he was right there I decided to try a tough floater and it went in.”
It was the Warriors’ third straight win to open the season — their best start since 1994-95 when they opened 5-0.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Blazers, who dropped to 1-2 to start the season.
“Our goal was to force them to make tough shots, and they did,” Aldridge said.
After wrestling for the lead throughout the fourth quarter, Aldridge’s layup and a fadeaway jumper with 2:01 left gave Portland a narrow 90-88 lead.
Andre Iguodala missed the second of a pair of free throws for Golden State with 26.3 seconds to go to keep the Blazers in front. But Thompson nailed the floater to give the Warriors a 91-90 lead with under 10 seconds on the clock.
“We bring him (Thompson) off a little counter-screen on the baseline and Matthews chased him, but this is what Klay has become now. He’s not just a jump shooter. He’s a guy who can get into the paint and use his size and strength to get shots up like that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Steph Curry made free throws the rest of the way for the final margin. Curry finished with 21 points for the Warriors.
Thompson scored a career-high 41 points the night before in a 127-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson combined with Curry to score 72 of Golden State’s points.
Coach Steve Kerr said before Sunday’s game that he was impressed — but not only with the scoring outburst from the duo known as the Splash Brothers.
“It’s a tandem that’s playing both ends of the floor. That’s exciting,” he said.
Thompson and Curry scored Golden State’s first 16 points against the Blazers, and the Warriors built a 24-14 first-quarter lead after Thompson’s 3-pointer.
Golden State led by as many as 12 points, but Portland closed the gap to 38-27 following Matthews’ 3-pointer and Thomas Robinson’s basket. The Blazers couldn’t pull in front but kept it close and trailed by just 51-48 at the half.
Portland briefly pulled ahead 68-66 late in the third quarter on Will Barton’s 22-foot pull-up jumper and the game was tied at 68 going into the back-and-fourth fourth.
Robin Lopez, who had collected five fouls, hit a short jumper to give Portland an 80-79 lead with 5:49 left. Andrew Bogut’s tip-in and Thompson’s dunk gave the Warriors back an 85-84 lead.
Lopez finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.
There was talk about Damian Lillard’s slow starts after the first two games of the season. He had totaled just six first-half points and was 2-for-10 from the field.
The All-Star guard’s first-half woes continued against the Warriors, and he was 1-for-8 for five points. Lillard finished with 11 points.
Lillard said he’s struggled for a game or two in his young career, but never for a series.
“I think it’s just one of those stretches you have to go through, and that you can grow from,” Lillard said.
Blazers Coach Terry Stotts was unconcerned.
“Dame just plays the game,” he said. “He’ll get his shots.”
WARRIORS: Thompson is the son of Mychal Thompson, who was selected first overall in the 1978 draft by the Blazers. The elder Thompson spent seven years in Portland. ... Thompson and Curry combined for 31 first-half points.
BLAZERS: F Joel Freeland was ruled out of the game because of a left foot injury he sustained against the Kings. ... Blazers owner Paul Allen has set up TackleEbola.com to raise money to fight the disease. The Blazers and Allen’s other team, the Seattle Seahawks, have made public address announcements calling attention to the cause. Allen committed $100 million to the effort.