Felton provides late spark as Blazers hold off Warriors 90-87

Both these teams are similar, on the outside-looking-in of the Western Conference playoff race, these two teams made some serious roster changes at the trade deadline and are looking to stir the pot further during the offseason. As it has been all season long, the advantage goes to the first team to score over 100 points but you wouldn’t know it looking at the roster sheets. Coming off a tough loss to the Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers (23-26) faced an unusual circumstance of playing against the Golden State Warriors (20-27) who went without point guard Stephen Curry and traded away Monta Ellis, opting to play with guys that neither Portland or anyone outside the Bay Area would have heard of. Either way, the Blazers couldn’t find the magic till the clock was ticking in the fourth quarter, Raymond Felton displayed quite the fire and had one of his best games as a Trail Blazer this season, as the guards were having no luck and neither was the bench, the Warriors had plenty of chances to take this game away but in the end Portland held them off and won 90-87.

It was kind of hard to swallow watching the Portland guards not feed LaMarcus Aldridge the ball on more possessions. Yeah even though Aldridge was faced with some double (and even triple) teamed, he was still making his shots and posterizing David Lee and Jeremy Tyler (who?). The Warriors went with a starting group that consisted of Lee and Tyler with rookies Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins and Dorell Wright, even with a bench that had Richard Jefferson and even Nate Robinson didn’t see playing time tonight due to injuries. Thinking that Portland would get the jump on a young and small Warriors team, the Blazers actually found themselves down 27-26 after one-quarter, the only highlight was a one armed alley-oop dunk from Aldridge by Felton. Jenkins would go absolutely berserk hitting his first six straight field goals.

Could the Blazers punch back and get a sizable lead going into halftime? Not with Aldridge scoring just ten points and Jenkins with a game high 13 points. The Blazers would be down as much as seven and trailed 47-40 to a quiet Rose Garden crowd, looking for something to cheer about.

And they got what they wanted, everyone from Felton, to Nicolas Batum led the charge and won the battle of possessions during the second half. But it wasn’t all fun and games, Golden State would battle back to go up by three from the hands of their rookies. Felton would go out like a different player than we’ve seen of him all season long, he buried sweet jumpers or found his man in the right spot. The only letdown experienced by the home crowd were no chances of free Taco Bell.

One more time, Raymond Felton came out, did some scoring, dished dimes and looked good out there tonight: 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk on 9-17 shooting and 4-7 from three. Following him was LaMarcus Aldridge who scored 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl on 6-12 shooting and could have put up more shots, if it wasn’t for the guards falling in love with the three-point line. The last Blazers in double figures is Nicolas Batum for 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl and Wesley Matthews for just 10 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl. The bench practically did nothing to help tonight as Luke Babbitt lead all bench scorers with 6 Pts. You know it would be another tough night for Jamal Crawford as he went 1-10 from the field and four points.

Remember earlier when I wrote earlier that Portland really enjoyed sitting behind the three-point line? It didn’t love them back though, the Blazers only hit 10-30 for the night, along with Felton’s four, both Batum and Wesley hit two each as did Babbitt. Portland had trouble scoring overall only managing 36% from the field, and even 18-27 from the foul line. Portland got 24 points in the paint, had eight steals and only committed 12 total fouls. Although Golden State shot a better shooting percentage (43%), they had a worse time from their money-maker which is the tré ball, only 7-22 from deep. Charles Jenkins scores a game high 27 Pts, 6 Ast and 13-22 for the night. Both David Lee and Klay Thompson contributed 16 points.

Portland will get the night off tomorrow before facing rival Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at the Rose Garden. That should be exciting as always!

photo courtesy of oregonlive.com/blazers