PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge said an overtime thriller over Golden State was good preparation for the looming postseason.
”It definitely shows what we’re going to see in the playoffs,” Portland’s All-Star forward said, ”where every possession counts and every basket counts.”
Aldridge had 26 points, including the go-ahead basket in the waning moments of overtime, and the Trail Blazers emerged with a 119-117 victory over the Warriors on Sunday night.
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The win, which featured 16 lead changes and nine ties, assured the Blazers of no less than the fifth seed in the playoffs.
It also assured a postseason matchup against Houston, sitting in fourth in the Western Conference. With a win in one of their two remaining games, the Rockets can clinch home-court advantage.
Portland’s win came despite the best efforts of Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who had a season-high 47 points. It was the third time this season Curry has eclipsed 40 points, and sixth time in his career.
The Warriors sit behind Portland in the standings with two games to go. Golden State will need to win one of its last two games to clinch the sixth seed.
”This is kind of what you expect from two playoff teams,” Curry said. ”From start to finish it definitely had that playoff feel.”
Aldridge’s jumper with 39.9 seconds to go gave the Blazers a 118-117 lead. Damian Lillard added a free throw for Portland before Andre Iguodala missed a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Wesley Matthews grabbed the rebound for the Blazers.
Matthews added 24 points for Portland, which has won four straight and eight of its past nine games. The Blazers wrap up the regular season on Wednesday against the Clippers.
Draymond Green hit a 3-pointer for Golden State to tie it late in the fourth quarter and Matthews missed a corner 3 as time ran out to send the game into overtime.
Curry’s 3 gave Golden State a 111-110 lead in OT. After Matthews scored on a bank shot and free throw, Klay Thompson’s 3 gave the Warriors back the lead.
Matthews and Thompson exchanged 3s before Aldridge’s jumper gave the Blazers the lead and the Warriors couldn’t answer. Thompson finished with 25 points.
”I told the guys before the game, I thought this would be a great tuneup for the playoffs,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ”This wasn’t a playoff game and it wasn’t necessarily a playoff atmosphere, but I felt like both teams really wanted the game and you were going to see a lot of effort from both teams. It’s heightened in the playoffs, but I felt this was good preparation for us.”
Warriors center Andrew Bogut did not play in overtime and after the game the team said he was undergoing a rib X-ray. His status for Monday night’s game at home against Minnesota was not immediately known.
Portland activated backup forward Joel Freeland, who has been out since Feb. 11 with a sprained MCL in his right knee, but he did not play. Spanish forward Victor Claver was moved to the inactive list with Freeland’s return.
Iguodala’s dunk pulled the Warriors to a 46-44 lead in the first half before Curry hit a 3-pointer. Lillard fouled Curry from 3-point range at the buzzer and Curry made all three free throws to put Golden State up 52-44 at the break.
The Warriors ended the half on a 14-2 run. Curry led all players with 21 points.
Portland rallied early in the final quarter, taking an 87-77 lead on Lillard’s 3-pointer. But Curry’s 3-pointer and a jumper pulled the Warriors within 95-93 with 6:01 left. Iguodala’s basket tied it at 95 with 4:54 to go.
The two teams wrestled the rest of regulation. Thompson’s long jumper gave Golden State a 102-101 edge with 41.9 seconds to go before Aldridge made a pair of free throws.
Curry drove for a layup but missed and Matthews made free throws to give the Blazers a 105-102 lead, but Green’s step-back 3-pointer tied it at 105 with 3.6 seconds left. Matthews’ 3 missed as time ran out.
”I think this was a big test,” Matthews said. ”This is as close to the playoffs as we’ve seen.”
Notes: Curry extended his NBA-leading streak of 68 straight games with a 3-pointer. He is now fifth for the longest streak all time, matching Reggie Miller. … Green’s game-tying 3 at the end of regulation was his only basket of the game. … Both Thompson and David Lee fouled out of the game for the Warriors.