As long as fights and brawls don’t end up with anyone actually hurt, we’re all for them. The Portland Trail Blazers continued their impressive start with a 113-101 win over the Golden State Warriors, but most of the attention went to the brawl that had three players (Mo Williams, Wesley Matthews and Draymond Green) ejected.
For some reason, the Warriors were hurt more by the actions. Andrew Bogut and Joel Freeland got into a shoving match, which was soon joined by pretty much everyone. LaMarcus Aldridge was pretty aggressive in all the action, but the refs were about ejecting low-level players, not stars, as it was pretty much everyone on everyone in the few crazy minutes of brawling.
The main instegator was Jermaine O’Neal, who wasn’t even playing grabbing Mo Williams around the neck, which took the fight to a whole other level. Draymond Green had to be restrained by quite a few players, while Wesley Matthews tried to hit everything that moved. In the end, 7 technical fouls were given altogether, but it seemed like the Warriors lost concentration after that row.
Wesley Matthews – That inspired us. We got better from it, we got stronger from it. Mo and I were continuing to cheer. They couldn’t hear us, but we were continuing to cheer.
Portland simply went to LaMarcus Aldridge, as they’ve been doing all season long, and were rewarded for their wise choice. Aldridge shot only 7-of-21 from the field, but finished with 30 points as he kept drawing fouls, going to the line 19 times (making 16 shots). Bogut finished with 5 fouls and Klay Thompson actually fouled out. With Stephen Curry on an awful shooting night (8-of-21 from the field) and no help from their bench, the Warriors weren’t up for the fight.
Aldridge, as usual, wasn’t alone. Wesley Matthews was excellent before the ejection with 23 points on 8-of-9 from the field, while Damian Lillard scored 20 points and added 9 assists, although he did shoot only 30% from the field while the Blazers as a team shot only 43%. Nicolas Batum scored 14 points, doing a little bit of everything, making the Warriors think about their own perimeter player with the ability to do more than one thing quite well, Andre Iguodala, and wish for his speedy return as they fell to 8-6.
Mark Jackson – We did not respond once the altercation took place. We gave them life by not doing what we were doing the entire first half. You have to be able to sustain it. We did not and we paid the price because of it.
This is the third straight loss for the Warriors, who suddenly don’t look as good on defense, and the talk of their team’s depth isn’t meeting reality. Stephen Curry isn’t playing healthy all the time, and if they don’t find a way to get points out of other players besides him and Thompson, this season is going to be another struggle to finish in the playoffs.
For the Blazers, everyone feels like this run can’t go on forever. However, as long as their starting five remains healthy, few teams can put on enjoyable scoring shows like them, but in order for continuity to prevail, guys like Thomas Robinson (0 points in 8 minutes) need to do much better.