Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
Image 1 17
Two nights after their embarrassing performance on Christmas night, the Warriors showed some improvement but not nearly enough.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 55 points, and the Warriors railled in the final minutes of regulation to send the game to overtime, but they fell to the Blazers 110-109.
Oakland native Damian Lillard, who grew up a Warriors fan, played his final regular-season game at Oracle Arena and hit the game-winner with 5.1 seconds left.
The Warriors had serious turnover issues, including by Curry who got trapped and lost the ball just before Lillard’s shot, and made just six of 15 free throws on the night.
“It was a wild game. it was a strange game,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I didn’t think we competed very well in the first half. I loved the way we competed in the second half.
“If we play with that type of intensity and competitiveness for the whole game, then we’re in business., but we’ve got to do it for 48 minutes.”
Durant opened overtime with a dunk, and Curry’s across-the-body pass to Klay Thompson led to an easy basket and four-point lead, but Portland’s CJ McCollum scored the next five points.
After a timeout, Draymond Green hit a corner three that electrified the Warriors’ record-setting 311st straight sellout, but Lillard followed with an acrobatic, falling-out-of-bounds three for the win.
The Warriors had the ball with 5.1 seconds to go, and Durant missed a jumper in the key as time expired. A bucket would have made it easier to forget the one-sided loss on Christmas to the Lakers.
“That’s a shot I work on every day,” Durant said. “I’m pissed I missed that.”
On the anemic free-throw shooting, he added, “Definitely stings when you leave money out there on the floor. Unacceptable to miss that many free throws. We’re pretty efficient at the line. I started us off missing two in a row, and I think that got to us.”
The Warriors trailed by 10 in the final mnutes and cut it to 102-99 with 45 seconds left on a Durant dunk, then he hit a three to tie the score with 19.1 seconds to go.
The ball went to Lillard, whose first chance for a game-winner was off line because he was hounded by Thompson. It was a different story in overtime.
“That’s a helluva way to go out,” Lillard said.
The Warriors didn’t waste time getting the ball to Thompson, the shooting guard whose shooting of late hasn’t been Klay-like. Green’s backdoor pass in the opening moments led to an easy Thompson layup, and he followed by sinking a three-pointer.
Toward the end of the first quarter, Thompson made a move on McCollum to get open for a corner jumper and nailed it. But he missed a couple of open looks and finished the first half 3-of-8 from the floor.
Thompson, who didn’t find his groove in the second half, missed 10 of first 14 shots including five of his first six threes, and he also missed his first three free throws, which seemed preposterous.
When he finally hit a free throw, he hung his wrist an extra moment or two as if he wanted to remember what it feels like. Thompson wasn’t the only Warrior struggling from the line. The team missed nine of its first 10 free throws.
Green had his fingerprints all over the box score with 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, but neither he, Kevon Looney nor anyone else did much to stop Portland center Jusef Nurkic 7-foot, 275-pounder Jusef Nurkic, who had his way for 27 points.
The Warriors led by one after the first quarter but scored 18 in the second to go into halftime down 52-46. That they committed nine turnovers to Portland’s two and made one of five free throws helped explain the deficit.
The Warriors opened second half with a short flurry. Curry hit a 33-footer and fed a no-look pass to Green, whose lay-in tied the score 55-55. But the Blazers maintained a four-point lead heading into the final quarter and never let up.
Portland already has a potent backcourt of McCollum and Oakland natie Damian Lillard, but Curry’s kid brother, Seth, helped ignite Portland in crunch time. The younger Curry hit a three-pointer from well behind the arc to put the Blazers ahead 83-74 and hit another from long range shortly thereafter.
Warrior fans tried to will their team to victory and were especially vocal a few times when Thompson had the ball, providing loads of encouragement. Fans made history as the 311st straight sellout, surpassing the previous record from March 1989 to April 1996.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-rally-to-force-OT-but-fall-to-Blazers-13494738.php.