Blazers show plenty of fight against Warriors

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Portland Trail Blazers weren't going down without a fight on Saturday night.
Then after the fight, they didn't go down at all.
Backup center Joel Freeland hit consecutive jumpers to break a 92-all tie and the Trail Blazers overcame the ejection of two of their guards in a third-quarter brawl to post a 10th consecutive victory, 113-101 over the Golden State Warriors.
Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 of his 30 points and 12 of his game-high 21 rebounds in the second half as the Trail Blazers (12-2) rallied from 14 down to hand Golden State its third consecutive defeat.
"We rode L.A. (Aldridge) in the second half," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "The one thing the altercation did was buy us some time. That was a long break and it allowed L.A. to play for the rest of the half."
The Warriors (8-6) were up 79-71 when Portland guards Mo Williams and Wesley Matthews and Golden State's Draymond Green were ejected for their roles in a brawl with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.
The incident began as a seemingly minor skirmish under the Portland basket between Freeland and Warriors center Andrew Bogut.
When the firey Williams got involved by going after Bogut, the seriousness of the event escalated. Green, Matthews and Aldridge all got into it, with all six players getting technical fouls.
"That's a part of the game," Matthews explained. "Just intense. That's the way I play. Just two tough teams going at it."
Williams and Green, considered the major instigators of the incident even though it started with Bogut and Freeland, were ejected for their roles in the brawl. Matthews' ejection was the result of receiving his second technical foul.
Stephen Curry, returning from a two-game absence after suffering a concussion earlier in the week, hit two free throws as a result of the technical discrepancy (four on Portland, two on Golden State) to increase the Golden State lead to 10. When Klay Thompson added two free throws 40 seconds later, the Warriors had an 83-71 advantage.
But Portland dominated the final 15 minutes, using a 10-1 run to close the third quarter to get within 84-81, before thoroughly outplaying Golden State throughout a one-sided fourth quarter to wrap up its seventh consecutive road win.
"It's huge for us to show what kind of basketball team we have," said Williams, who watched the finish on television alongside Matthews in the Portland locker room. "I'm more excited about how the guys responded and how we defended in the fourth quarter. That's why we won the game."
Stotts agreed.
"The altercation changed the complexion of the game," he said. "I liked the way we responded. I liked the way we stood up for each other. I thought it brought us together."
Freeland's jumpers came after Aldridge had tied the score at 92-all with 8:29 to go. The backup big man had four of Portland's points in a game-swinging 14-0 run in which Golden State missed eight shots and committed five turnovers in a stretch of 5 1/2 minutes.
By the time the Warriors' David Lee ended the drought with 2:52 to go, Portland was fully in command at 104-94.
"We were just bad. Just bad," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "There were times where we let our inability to make shots affect the way we defended. That's not who we are."
Matthews had 23 points in 25 ½ minutes before his ejection. Point guard Damian Lillard contributed 20 points and nine assists to the Portland cause, and small forward Nicolas Batum added 14 points. Starting center Robin Lopez completed the team effort with eight points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
Thompson, who fouled out with 5:07 to go, led Golden State with 30 points, hitting 10 of his 13 shots from the field. Curry (22 points, 11 assists) and Lee (15 points, 12 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Warriors, and small forward Harrison Barnes added 13 points.
Jackson was happy the Warriors had two days off before tipping off a four-game trip on Tuesday in New Orleans.
"We need to marinate a new spirit," he said. "Come back and reload."
The Warriors played without starting small forward Andre Iguodala, who strained his left hamstring in Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
NOTES: Trail Blazers PF LaMarcus Aldridge's 30 points included 16 free throws in 19 attempts, both career highs. ... The 30/20 game was the third of Aldridge's career. He's the only Trail Blazer ever to accomplish that feat as many as three times. ... The last time the Trail Blazers won as many as 10 games in a row was December 2007, when they had a 13-game streak. ... Asked before the game if a 10-game streak would be "bubbly time," Portland coach Terry Stotts quipped, "Bubbly time comes in June." ... The Warriors lost for the first time in a game when SG Klay Thompson scored 30 or more points. They'd been 5-0 in the previous 30-point efforts in his career. ... Warriors SF Andre Iguodala is expected to be out at least two weeks with a strained hamstring. The injury was revealed via MRI on Saturday. He won't play on the club's upcoming four-game trip. ... Saturday was homecoming for two Trail Blazers. PG Damian Lillard attended Oakland High and SG Allen Crabbe starred last season at nearby Cal. Lillard wears No. 0 in part because he grew up in Oakland.

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