Crawford, Hickson lead Trail Blazers over Warriors in 118-110 shoot out

Depending on who you rooted for, anyone could agree that this game didn’t have much riding on as both clubs are most likely not heading into the postseason, and are destined for the lottery, but hey, a win is a win. The Portland Trail Blazers welcomed in the Golden State Warriors for the last meeting of the season, the Blazers would be without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge to a hip injury (more about that later), leaving J.J. Hickson to take his place in the starting lineup. As Portland and Golden State were keeping things competitive and high scoring, the Blazers’ defense was lackluster and spotty as they gladly let the Warriors hang around for too long. After halftime, Portland seemed to keep things under control and shortly they had a 15-point lead that seemed to seal the deal in the third.

But least we forget the Warriors hold the highest three-point percentage in the league and stacked with shooters. And the 15-point lead gave Portland the idea to slack off the rest of the way and cruise, but the Warriors would go and score ten straight points and suddenly the game is tied in the fourth. Golden State and Portland would then forget all about their defense and stick to hot offensive shooting, leading to a high-scoring and entertaining twelve minute quarter that saw a lot of threes, lay ups and dunks. With Aldridge out, the Blazers got their scoring from Jamal Crawford, Hickson and a few timely clutch shots by Wesley Matthews keyed a 118-110 Blazer win.

As Nicolas Batum came back into the starting lineup from sitting with a sore knee, Crawford and Hickson carried much of the weight offensively as they were only settling for outside jumpers. The Warriors who were blown away by the Denver Nuggets 70-13 in points in the paint, were looking to drive inside and force Portland to commit handfuls of turnovers. The Blazer bench fell prey to falling behind with bad shot selections and poorly getting back on defense. Things were kept close, the starters would keep things at bay and calmed down as the Warriors would seem to go on nice runs but ultimately failed to create any momentum. Portland felt their seven-point lead at halftime should’ve have been more as Crawford was going on a tear.

They got their wish as they jumped quickly to a 15-point lead, Crawford nailing the mid-range jumper, Hickson was diving inside for the offensive rebound and even a little mix of Matthews and Luke Babbitt and everything was fine and dandy at the Rose Garden.

Guess again! The Warriors took this time to fake out the Blazers and immediately after the buzzer signaled the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors came alive and scored ten straight points and wham—the game is suddenly tied. Portland casually let Golden State get clean looks inside or settle for the three-point shot. As did the Warriors who stood around and let Hickson power through and Crawford hit the jumper. The last six minutes were basically back-and-fourth scoring at a fast rate, Raymond Felton contributed nicely for some timely baskets and rang in 101 points halfway through the quarter. Hats off to Golden State who managed to tie at multiple times, Richard Jefferson for the three, Nate Robinson laying up and Clay Thompson didn’t go down that easily. It had to be a few threes by Batum and a clutch three by Matthews put the Warriors out of reach for good.

Jamal Crawford was the focal point of the Blazer offensive and did a nice job overall, he would still manage to jack up some wild shots that were forced at the shot clock but you can’t look away at his 34 Pts in 31 minutes on 10-18 shooting. Aside from him, every Blazer scored in double figures with some nice balanced scoring, J.J. Hickson in place of Aldridge scored 23 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast and did a terrific job on the boards. Wesley Matthews hit the dagger in the fourth to put the game out of reach and finished with 18 Pts, 4 Reb on 7-15 shooting. Raymond Felton had another double-double for 16 Pts, 10 Ast and was the night’s “Chalupaman”. Nicolas Batum returned for a casual 14 Pts, 5 Reb in 32 minutes. The bench fell flat and struggled to maintain momentum as Luke Babbitt scored a bench high 6 Pts and 3 Reb, Craig Smith actually saw some action for the first time in a long time and Joel Przybilla grabbed an awesome 14 rebounds.

photo courtesy of