What we learned as Steph leads Warriors’ blowout of Blazers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors lost four of their final five games going into the All-Star break. The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, had won four straight. On Thursday night, Golden State returned from a week-plus pause and found themselves back in the win column with a 132-95 blowout victory at Moda Center.
Thursday night’s win completed the Warriors’ season sweep over the Blazers.
Both teams caught fire early on and the Warriors trailed 32-31 at the end of the first quarter after trailing by as much as 10 early on. In the second quarter, the Warriors’ offense reached another level by dropping 39 points as the Blazers cooled off and scored 25. The Warriors didn’t cool off as they outscored Portland 30-16 in the third, and 32-22 in the fourth.
Like music to Steve Kerr’s ears, the Warriors had 36 assists to 12 turnovers.
Klay Thompson scored 13 points in the first quarter and finished with 18. Steph Curry also scored 18, but it was his role as a distributor that really stood out. The star point guard handed out a season-high 14 assists.
Gary Payton II started at power forward, scored 10 points and made both of his 3-pointers. This was a group win with eight players scoring in double figures.
The Blazers traded CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans, and appear to have a new star in the making in the backcourt. Anfernee Simons, 22, scored a game-high 24 points and has scored at least 20 points 15 times now in 2022.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ dominant win that improved their record to 43-17.
Tale of two All-Stars
Curry carried his scoring barrage into a double-double performance his first game back. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter and still put up 18 points and 14 assists, which are two off his career high. His 10 first-half assists were one off his career high, and gave him a double-double in the first half for the first time since December of 2017.
Andrew Wiggins, however, didn’t have the same luck.
Following his first trip to the All-Star Game, Wiggins went scoreless in the first half. He went 0-for-5 from the field, all from beyond the 3-point line.
In the third quarter, he then scored 10 points and went 2-for-3 from deep. He too didn’t see any time in the fourth quarter.
In the first half alone, the Warriors’ bench outscored the Blazers 30-11. Golden State’s bench wound up scoring 66 points to Portland’s 38.
Jonathan Kuminga led the way with 17 in 27 minutes. He also had eight rebounds and was a plus-24. Jordan Poole put up 15 points, had six assists and was a game-high plus-33. Otto Porter Jr. was the third bench player in double-figures, scoring 10 points to go with seven rebounds.
Every single Warrior played, and every bench player had a positive plus-minus.
Kuminga’s New Dimension
The Warriors’ rising rookie just keeps adding new skills to his tool belt. In Portland, it was the ability to get to the free throw line. Kuminga tied a season-high with 10 free throws in the first half and made eight of them. He ended up going 10-for-12.
His 10 makes were a new career-best, with six being his previous high.
Kuminga shot just 62.5 percent from the line in the G League last year when he skipped college, and came into the night making 65.5 percent of his free throws in the NBA. On Thursday night, he made 83.3 percent of his attempts.
If Kuminga can make the leap from the line, it’ll just make his rise that much more rapid.