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PORTLAND – There is almost no chance of the Warriors and Blazers facing each other in the postseason, but they were exquisite sparring partners for each other Sunday night at Moda Center.
It took four periods and overtime Sunday night for the Trail Blazers to finally stamp a 119-117 defeat on a Warriors team that received what amounts to an advance look at the intensity to come in the upcoming postseason.
"This is kind of what you expect of two playoff teams preparing for that next step,'' said Stephen Curry, who fired in a game-high 47 points. "And from start to finish, it had that kind of feel.''
It was get-knocked-down-and-get-back-up style of hoops, with 16 lead changes and both teams gaining and losing double-digit advantages. Warriors David Lee and Klay Thompson both fouled out. Each team had a chance to win in regulation. Neither could.
"We did give a great effort and that's an effort that we can live with,'' said Draymond Green, who drained a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in regulation to send the game into OT. "We made big shots when we needed to make big shots. But most importantly, we bared down.''
The Warriors (49-31) lost their slim chance of gaining the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and instead left Oregon still holding onto the sixth seed. A win in either of their final two games – against Minnesota on Monday and at Denver on Wednesday – solidifies that No. 6 seed.
The Blazers (53-28) are assured of finishing no lower than No. 5 with a slim possibility of getting to No. 4. Either way, they will face the Rockets.
So, yes, there were stakes to this game. That might explain the resilience on display.
"It had a playoff feel to it, as far as flow and as far as the seesaw effect on offense,'' said Andre Iguodala, whose 3-point attempt at the end of OT came off the rim. "One team would go on a 7-0 run, and the other team would respond with a 7-0 run.
"It was just a game a basketball fan would enjoy watching.''
Curry, once again, was worth the price of admission. His 47 came on 16-of-29 shooting, 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. He was 15 of 25 in regulation, so perhaps his team-high 45 minutes caught up to him.
Yet Curry had to play a lot for the Warriors to stay in the game. He represented such a disproportionate percentage of the offense.
"I don’t know why people continue to be so amazed by it,'' Green said. "I'm amazed when he doesn't do that. It's just become . . . I'm used to seeing it. Nonetheless, it's still amazing.
"What I'm saying is totally contradictory, but I'm used to seeing it. But it never gets old.''
Though Curry got little scoring help, other than Iguodala, in the first half, he eventually received some backup. His usual sidekick, Klay Thompson, dismissed a scoreless first half and came back with 25 after halftime.
It was enough force overtime. It was not enough to help the Warriors get to the coveted 50-win level.
"We got back into the game with tremendous effort from top to bottom,'' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "Disappointing loss, but there were a lot of bright spots.''
THE GOOD: Curry was phenomenal, particularly during a 17-point fourth quarter during which the Warriors trailed by as much as 10. He became the first player in NBA history to make at least 250 treys in multiple seasons.
Iguodala was effective in a supporting role, providing 15 points (7-of-10 shooting), five rebounds, four assists and a steal in 37 minutes.
The post-halftime Thompson – 25 points in 24 minutes on 9-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-7 3-pointers – was superb.
THE BAD: David Lee, who missed nearly three weeks before returning to action on Friday, clearly was off his game: 4 points (on 2-of-9 shooting) and four rebounds.
Andrew Bogut and Lee did a nice job of offsetting Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez on the glass but were crushed on offense, losing the scoring battle 42-6.
Bogut took shot to his already sore ribs, leaving the game in the fourth quarter and not returning. He will undergo an MRI test on Monday.
The pre-halftime Thompson – 0 points, 0-of-4 shooting, three fouls – was awful.
THE TAKE: Insofar as they were playing a team of similar quality, with perhaps a bit more motivation, on its home court, this was a loss those for which the Warriors need neither explanations nor excuses.
It was about as impressive a loss as they've taken this season, but it forces them to get back to winning or else risk the possibility of facing Oklahoma City.