Since replacing injured center Andris Biedrins in the Warriors’ starting lineup, Turiaf has provided Golden State with a big boost inside after doing the same off the bench all season.
Turiaf recorded his first double-double in nearly two years with 14 points and 11 rebounds while helping lead the Warriors to a 105-98 win over Portland on Thursday.
“He’s just been our brick wall,” Jackson said. “It’s just something where he’s behind us and he’s always there. He’s Mr. Reliable. He’s definitely been the key to the way we’ve been playing these last couple of games and I’ve got to take my hat off to him, he’s doing an excellent job.”
Corey Maggette had 24 points while Jackson and Monta Ellis added 20 points apiece for Golden State, which extended its season-high win streak to three games. The Warriors also beat Portland at home for the eighth straight time.
Biedrins, Golden State’s leading rebounder and one of the team’s most consistent scorers, injured his right ankle during a 115-105 loss to Phoenix on Feb. 6. At the time it seemed just another blow to the injury-plagued Warriors, but Turiaf has almost made it a moot point.
Against Portland and 7-foot center Greg Oden, Turiaf had the breakout performance the Warriors have been hoping for ever since they signed him to a four-year contract in the offseason.
“I knew coming into this situation I was the backup center and I knew my position,” Turiaf said. “I’m just trying to hold the fort down for Andris. I envision myself playing alongside him and I know for a fact that he does the same thing. We know we play pretty good off each other. I just told him to hurry up.”
“We have to figure out another way to play them, maybe not going inside so much,” Roy said. “Golden State is a tough team in this building. Every time I come here they are tough to beat. I’m glad we are done with them this year.”
The Warriors led by as much as 18 in the second half, but had to hold off a late charge by Portland, which pulled within 97-93 on a dunk by Oden with 25 seconds remaining. Golden State then iced the game at the free throw line, going 8-for-8 in the final 23 seconds to seal the win and head into the All-Star break riding a three-game win streak.
Golden State led comfortably throughout the first half, was up by 11 at halftime and extended its advantage to 18 heading into fourth quarter. That the Warriors did so without Jackson leading the way had to be the most encouraging sign for coach Don Nelson.
“We continue to score at a high level and I think we’ll always have a chance as long as our defense holds us and the boys carry out the game plan,” Nelson said. “I thought our schemes were good tonight.”
Jackson, averaging 28.4 points in his previous five games, scored 10 in the first quarter but had only 10 after that.
It didn’t matter.
Maggette picked up the scoring slack in the second quarter, while rookie Anthony Randolph had seven of his nine points in the third period, when the Warriors built an 80-62 lead. Randolph and Maggette combined to score Golden State’s final 11 points of the quarter.
Portland, on the other hand, got the usual production out of Roy and Aldridge, but not much from anyone else. Center Oden spent much of the first half on the bench with foul trouble and finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Portland also committed 23 turnovers.
“That was the key,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “We knew that we couldn’t turn the ball over against this team. We fought to stay close and got close but weren’t able to finish.”
Despite their lack of offensive rhythm, the Blazers were within 89-84 following a 3-pointer by Rudy Fernandez and a short jumper from Aldridge. Ellis scored to stop the slide for Golden State, then later added back-to-back 19-footers to make it 95-86.
The Blazers made one final push, closing to 95-91 on Fernandez’s breakaway dunk with 51 seconds left.
Notes: Turiaf had 13 points in Golden State’s win over Utah on Sunday and added 10 points and eight rebounds in a win over the Knicks on Tuesday. … Travis Outlaw had eight points and 12 rebounds, but went 3-of-14 from the floor for Portland.