The Warriors completely dismantled the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night, 108-94 (box score, recap), in the most impressive performance by Golden State this year. It was a major boost of hope for the Warriors, because on paper, there’s no way the Warriors should have won.
The Blazers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Didn’t matter, the high-octane Warriors hit 47 percent of their shots, including 7 of 13 3-pointers, and blitzed the Blazers up and down the court.
The Blazers are one of the most efficient and effective offense teams in the NBA. Against the Warriors, the Blazers were confused and frustrated, with 23 turnovers and a dismal shooting performance (41 percent from the field and 4 of 19 on 3-pointers).
After a dominant first quarter, the Warriors took Portland’s 7-foot center Greg Oden (16 points, 6 rebounds) and 6-foot-11 power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12 points, 6 rebounds) completely out of the game. And that pesky matchup against Brandon Roy that everybody said would kill the Warriors? Golden State surprised by putting Monta Ellis on Roy for most of the game, and Ellis dominated Portland’s two-time All-Star. Roy (17 points, 6-of-17 from the field) was so frustrated by Ellis’ defense, he took to accusing the Warriors guard of dirty tactics on defense after the game. Read the following excerpt from the game story in the Oregonian:
The smaller Warriors did what McMillan has always preached to his team — they scrapped. In fact, Roy felt the Warriors scrapped a little too much. Roy, who shot 6 for 17 from the field, complained all night that Monta Ellis was grabbing his off arm, throwing him off balance. At one point, Roy was given a technical by Tommy Nunez Jr., just his third technical in four years. “I tried to make it clear he was grabbing my arm,” Roy said. “And he came back in the second half and said he missed it. Now, he will probably come back to me the next game and say he missed it (in the second half). But Monta was slick about it, and as a team they did a good job of pressuring us.”
Roy is pretty unflappable, so for Ellis to get into his head like that is a major testament to the kind of defense Ellis was playing. More please! On offense, Ellis was fearless, carving up the Blazers defense for 34 points and eight assists (!). It was the best game Ellis has played this season (the best game he’s played in a long time), and he continues to prove that he might just be up to taking over the star/leadership role the Warriors need him to occupy.