On a night when you give up 137 points to the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry scores almost half those points, you really have to wonder if just a little something more could have been done to stop the Warriors’ All-Star guard.
I mean, all the time we see teams double- and triple-teaming Damian Lillard, blitzing him on screens and just getting the ball out of his hands.
But the Trail Blazers under Terry Stotts seldom employ such strategy, except for the odd game against James Harden.
Curry single-handedly destroyed Portland in a 137-122 Golden State win Sunday night in San Francisco. And right down to the end of the game, when Curry was bouncing around the court in glee after passing the 60-point plateau, finally finishing with 62, Portland seemed powerless to do anything about it.
“Well, I’d be glad to sit down and watch some video with you, but when we did (double-team Curry) he split the double-teams and got into the lane in the first half,” Stotts said afterward. “We doubled him one time and then he quickly got the ball back and got a three off.”
Curry was getting free constantly on the way to hitting 18 of his 31 shots, including 8-16 from three and 18 of 19 free throws.
Stotts was asked about one play with under three minutes to go and Portland still within striking distance, when Curry came off a screen at the top wide open and hit Andrew Wiggins in a corner for a three,
“The reason he passes to Wiggins in the corner is because we were up on the ball screen,” Stotts said.”He got by us and we came to help and then he kicked it out.
“So, it’s not like we didn’t give him a lot of attention. Our bigs were up, he just, like I said in the first half, our bigs were up and he got into the lane. So, it’s not like we didn’t try.”
Oh, the bigs did try. But Stotts had obviously chosen to go with offense down the stretch of the game, trying to outscore the Warriors. If he had intended on going with a defensive unit, he wouldn’t have had Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter on the floor.
In fact, he might have used a defensive lineup, which could have included Harry Giles -- a big man quick enough to do a better job of hedging Curry after the pick.
Giles, who gave the Trail Blazers some good minutes in Friday’s win, did not get off the bench Friday.
He seems, at least at this point of the young season, destined to get the Will Barton/Meyers Leonard treatment of not playing consistent minutes -- or none at all -- while seeming to be just what the team needs at a given time.
It’s difficult to understand.
In spite of falling behind by 20 in the third quarter, Portland still had chances to win this game over the final five minutes. But the Trail Blazers had another one of those games when it didn’t defend well at the rim or on the perimeter.
Golden State, not a big team, scored 60 points in the paint (30-42) with a lot of dribble penetration and made 38.2 percent of its three-point shots.
The Trail Blazers just aren’t consistent enough from long range to absorb that sort of shooting and still win. Portland hit just 14 of 43 from long distance.
The Warriors, right now at least, do not have a lot of talent surrounding Curry. But they have Curry, one player who can beat you, and the Trail Blazers let him do it.