Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/12/13
By Dave Del Grande, Sports Xchange OAKLAND, Calif. -- Damian Lillard put on a show for his hometown fans in his Oakland homecoming, but his 37 points weren't enough as the Golden State Warriors held on for an entertaining 103-97 victory Friday night over the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard, who grew up in the shadow of the Warriors' downtown practice facility and attended Oakland High, hit 10 consecutive shots over a brilliant 11 1/2-minute stretch of the third and fourth periods en route to his season-best total. But unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, they'd dug themselves a 67-47 deficit before Lillard got hot, and only got as close 91-84 following the rookie's 10th consecutive hoop, a driving left-hander at the rim with 5:12 left in the game. Luke Babbitt eventually got Portland within 93-87 with a 3-pointer at the 3:34 mark, but Klay Thompson countered with a 3 of his own and Warriors hung on to snap a two-game losing streak while also stopping Portland's win streak at four. The Trail Blazers did not go quietly. Lillard's seventh 3 of the night with 24.5 seconds left made it a three-point game at 100-97, but Portland had to foul and Stephen Curry made a pair with 16.4 seconds remaining to ice the win. Curry had a 22-point, 12-assist double-double for the Warriors, complementing David Lee's 24 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson added 16 points, Carl Landry 15 and Harrison Barnes 13 in a balanced Golden State attack. Lillard's 37 points came on 15-for-25 shooting, including seven of 12 from 3-point range. The Trail Blazers attempted 43 3s, the most ever by a Warriors opponent, making just 15. Nicolas Batum made three as part of a 16-point effort. The Trail Blazers were enduring the second half of a back-to-back that began about as impressively as possible, with a 92-90 home win over Miami on Thursday night. The matchup was the first of the season for the Western Conference playoff hopefuls and pitted a pair of clubs already owning wins over the Heat. The Warriors (23-12) left the arena 3 1/2 games ahead of the Trail Blazers (20-16). The game began competitively for about seven minutes, thanks in large part to Lillard. He hit three of his first four shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, allowing the visitors to cling within 15-12. But Lillard didn't score again in the half, and his teammates didn't take up the slack. The Trail Blazers scored only 23 points in the final 17 minutes of the half, including just 10 in a 10 1/2-minute span that bridged the first and second quarters and transformed the three-point game into a 41-22 early blowout. Things went south for the Trail Blazers about the time coach Terry Stotts went to an all-reserve lineup late in the first quarter. He felt compelled to give his starters an early breather after having used his bench a total of just 39 minutes in Thursday's win over the Heat. The backups did nothing to gain the confidence of its coach, however, missing eight of its 11 shots in the half as the Trail Blazers fell behind by as many as 19 en route to a 50-35 halftime deficit. The Warriors were as good as the Trail Blazers were bad in the half, outshooting the guests 47.7 percent to 23.4 and hitting four 3s while Portland was missing 15 of 19. Lee led the Warriors in the half with 13 points, followed by Barnes with 11 on 4-for-6 shooting. Notes: Few opponents are as revered in Oakland as Lillard. Shortly after signing his first professional contract last summer, Lillard presented a hefty check to the Oakland Rebels AAU teams, wanting to sponsor what had been a second-rate program when he was growing up. ... One excited television viewer Friday night was Reggie Miller, who texted Warriors coach Mark Jackson during the day to say how much he was looking forward to the matchup of Lillard vs. Curry. ... Even before taking the floor to face the Warriors, Stotts expected to pay a price for Thursday's thrilling win over the Heat. Stotts burned four of his starters upward of 40 minutes in the win. "These guys can't play those kinds of minutes in back-to-back games," Stotts assured, noting he'd have to rely much more on his bench against the Warriors. ... The Warriors faced a team that had played the night before for a 10th time already this season. In contrast, they haven't played on consecutive nights since December. ... Friday's sellout was the Warriors' eighth in succession. ... Seeing an enthusiastic fan base in Oakland is nothing new to the Trail Blazers' Stotts. He was a Warriors assistant coach in the 2004-05 season, during which the club acquired Baron Davis from the Hornets and laid the groundwork for the "Run TMC" playoff success two years later. Stotts left Golden State after one season to become head coach of the Bucks.
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