Warriors put up big points, put down Blazers
Carl Landry had 25 points and 10 rebounds off the bench against the Blazers. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
If was a matter of when, not if, but the Warriors achieved an important milestone Saturday night with a 125-98 win against Portland at Oracle Arena.
Their 42nd win of season guarantees a winning record -- just the just the third such occurrence since the 1993-94 season.
Stephen Curry made sure the outcome was determined relatively early. He finished with a game-high 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting, his second-highest point total of the season behind his 54-point night at Madison Square Garden.
"You see the shots go up and you are shocked when they miss," coach Mark Jackson said of Curry. "You hear the sighs from the fans and the eyes of the opponent and your own team and you look at the bench -- we are witnessing one of the greatest shooters that have ever played this game."
The numbers back up Jackson's bold proclamation.
With 236 made threes through 70 games played, Curry's season total ranks sixth on the NBA's single-season three-point field goals list. If he continues at his rate of 3.4 threes per game, Curry would finish with 262 three-pointers this year -- seven behind Ray Allen's single-season record (269).
"He's been great for us all season long, but he is on the floor like he is the baddest dude in the building," Jackson said. "He's playing with a chip, with an edge, with a belief and with a swag that he is the baddest dude in the building."
Saturday night he was just that.
After hitting a pull-up three with six minutes, 55 seconds left in the game to put the Warriors up 110-87, Curry exited for good.
He wasn't the only Warrior who stepped up following a disappointing loss to Sacramento on Wednesday. Carl Landry scored a season-high 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds -- the second 25-and-10 game of his career.
"Every time he's aggressive like that, he's difficult to stop on that block and he did a great job rebounding, especially offensively," David Lee said.
Added Jackson: "When he plays like that, we are a different team."
Harrison Barnes (11), Lee (13) and Bogut (10) also scored in double figures, but Klay Thompson's recent struggles continued. After finishing 1-for-13 against the Kings, Thompson was just 1-of-6 Saturday. Outside of the pair of games, Thompson failed to hit more than one field goal on just one other occasion this season.
After scoring 37 points the first time against his hometown team, Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard was limited to 16 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Lillard was 2-for-3 from deep, which tied him with Curry's NBA rookie record for three-pointers made (166) in a season.
Meyers Leonard led the Blazers with 22 points.
With eight games left, the Warriors remain 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston for the No. 6 seed. The Rockets beat the Clippers 98-81 without James Harden on Saturday. Should the teams finished tied, Houston owns the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series.
Four of Golden State's remaining games come against teams with losing records, including an April 5 date with Phoenix, which appears to be in tank-mode.
Golden State has three days off before it hosts New Orleans on Wednesday to finish its five-game home stand. The Warriors have taken all three games with the Hornets this season and will look for their first season sweep of the franchise since going 2-0 against the then Charlotte Hornets in 1995-96. That Hornets team featured Curry's father, Dell Curry.
Jackson said the plan is to keep things light in practice the next few days.
"A lot of guys have a lot of miles and a lot of guys still – look at (Andrew) Bogut we are still going to be true to the process and not going to play him in games and try and hammer him in practice," Jackson said. "Same thing goes for (Curry), (Lee), (Thompson) – they are playing big minutes and we need to be smart."
- Brandon Rush, who tore his ACL in the season opener, was present so he could be included in the team picture. Rush is rehabbing the injury in New York and told the San Francisco Chronicle he would be ready for training camp.
- Curry's second three passed Tim Hardaway for second on the franchise's all-time three-point list. With 608 threes in his career, Curry trails only Jason Richardson (700).
- The 27-point margin of victory was the third greatest in franchise history against Portland and largest since 1996.