OAKLAND – The Warriors needed a strong performance to reassert themselves as contenders, and the combination of Stephen Curry's offense and tightened defense was a successful in a 103-88 win over the Trail Blazers on Sunday at Oracle Arena.
Curry finished with 38 points and eight assists, leading four Warriors who scored in double figures. David Lee added 17 points and 12 rebounds, Andre Iguodala 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Klay Thompson submitted 17 points and four assists.
The Warriors (27-18) ended a three game home losing streak and a stretch during which they had lost five of seven games.
Though the Warriors led by as much as 22 points, Portland made a late comeback that finally was thwarted by none other than Curry, who drained a corner 3-pointer for a 99-86 lead with 1:49 remaining.
The key to the victory, though, was defense. The Warriors snapped their tendency to start slow, taking a 28-22 lead in the first quarter. They held the Blazers to 12 points in the third quarter, 33 in the second half and to 33.7 percent shooting overall.
Portland (33-12), playing on back-to-back nights, and for the third time in four nights, was led by Wesley Matthews, who put in 21 points. Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge endured an atrocious night, shooting 2-for-14 and finishing with 10 points. Star guard Damian Lillard also had a subpar game, with 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
The Warriors avenged a 113-101 loss to the Blazers in November and evened the season series at one game apiece.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Curry's 23 first-half points carried the offense early, and then the defense showed up in the third quarter, initiating some easy baskets that fueled the win.
TURNING POINT: Leading 62-61 with 6:09 left in the third quarter, the Warriors used ferocious defense to go a 29-8 run that put them up 91-69 with 7:18 remaining. Iguodala and Green were particularly effective as Portland committed seven turnovers in the third quarter.
Despite scoring only 2 points, Green received a standing ovation upon fouling out with 6:58 left in the game. He deserved it.
INJURY REPORT: C Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) is out but could be back this month. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and G Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring) are out indefinitely.
ROSTER NOTE: C Ognjen Kuzmic is on assignment with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the Developmental League.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors on Tuesday night face the Washington Wizards at Oracle Arena. The Warriors have won the last six meetings, including the last four in Oakland.