Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
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Two nights after their embarrassing performance on Christmas night, the Warriors showed some improvement but not quite enough.
Steph Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 55 points, and the Warriors railled in the final minute 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.
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.
The Warriors trailed 102-99 with 45 seconds to go after a Durant dunk, and after Green pulled down a rebound, Durant hit a three to tie the score with 19.1 seconds left.
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.
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 (March 1989 to April 1996) that overlapped the height of the Run TMC days.
“There is an energy in this building that has existed ever since I’ve come here,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who first played at the arena his rookie year in 1988. “That same energy was palpable then. What we are seeing now is a perfect storm of great, great basketball fans being given over the last five or six years a really good product, and the result is 311 straight sellouts.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-rally-to-force-OT-but-fall-to-Blazers-13494738.php.