The Golden State Warriors now know what it’s like to play against them.
Damian Lillard scored a career-high 51 points to lead the overachieving Portland Trail Blazers to a stunning 137-105 blowout victory over the defending NBA champions. Lillard was 18-of-28 from the field, 9-of-12 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. The Oakland-native added seven assists, six steals and zero turnovers in just 31 minutes. The nine 3-pointers were a career-high for Lillard, who was Stephen Curry-esque with his masterful performance.
Portland shot 53.6 percent (52-of-97) from the field and 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from 3-point range. They held Golden State to 39.1 percent shooting, including 35.3 percent from beyond the arc. For the first time in forever, the Warriors got a taste of their own medicine.
C.J. McCollum added 21 points for Portland, which improved to 28-27 on the season. The Blazers have won four straight and nine of 10 to remain seventh in the Western Conference.
Even Curry couldn’t keep up with Lillard. The reigning MVP scored 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range. Klay Thompson had 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting. The 3-point contest winner made 2-of-5 3-pointers. Draymond Green finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and a career-worst nine turnovers.
The loss snapped Golden State’s 11-game winning streak. The Warriors dropped to 48-5 on the season and back on the same pace as the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls when they went 72-10.
Portland got off to a scintillating start in the opening quarter, scoring 42 points on 65.4 percent shooting. Lillard had 17 points and five assists. Curry countered with 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Despite shooting just 41.4 percent, the Warriors scored 31 points to stay within striking distance.
The Blazers extended the lead to 19 early in the second quarter, but a 22-7 run by the Warriors cut the lead to four with just over a minute left in the first half. Portland led 68-62 at halftime.
It was still a six-point game early in the second half when the Blazers took full command of the game with a dizzying 25-4 run to take a 27-point lead. During the stretch of 6:22, Portland shot 8-of-12 from the field. Lillard led the charge with nine points, including converting a four-point play. While the Blazers were firing on all cylinders, the Warriors missed six of seven shots and committed nine turnovers. Golden State finished with an unlucky 13 turnovers in the quarter.
Lillard made it an unforgettable night with 21 points in the fourth quarter. He was 7-of-8 from the field and 5-of-5 from 3-point range. Lillard went over the 50-point mark on two free throws with 4:45 left in the game. The All-Star snub left the court seconds later to a rousing standing ovation from the Moda Center crowd.
With a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center late Saturday afternoon, only Harrison Barnes and Thompson played the fourth quarter. Barnes finished with just five points and did not take a shot in the game’s final 29 minutes.
The Warriors and their fans shouldn’t be too worked up over this loss. The first game after an extended break is always the most difficult and playing in Portland does not help. Here’s a fun little nugget that will lift the spirits of Dub Nation up everywhere. When the Bulls won 72 games and the NBA championship in 1996, they lost big on March 10 to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The score that night was 104-72.
Stat of the night: Thompson recorded a +2 in his 28:28 of action.
2015-16 Golden State Warriors 48-5
1995-96 Chicago Bulls 48-5