Warriors clinch division with 122-108 victory over Blazers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The music was turned up in the locker room and the mood was festive, but Golden State didn't overdo the celebration of the team's first division title in 39 years.
These Warriors aren't done yet.
''We might be a little subdued, but I think everybody is proud of what we've done. We still have 11 games left to keep getting better so I think everybody is focused on that,'' Stephen Curry said. ''But I think everybody is pretty happy right now.''
Curry had 33 points and 10 assists and the Warriors pulled away from the short-handed Trail Blazers in the second half for a 122-108 victory on Tuesday night. Andre Iguodala came off the bench to score 21 points for the Warriors, who won their seventh straight to push their record to an NBA-best 58-13.
Golden State hasn't won the Pacific Division crown since the 1975-76 season, the year after the team won the NBA championship.
After the game, many players sported T-shirts that read ''Pacific Claimed.''
With a comfortable lead on second-place Memphis in the Western Conference, the Warriors have dropped just one of their last 12 games. Playing the second of a back-to-back, the team shot a season-high 60.2 percent for the game.
''Golden State is a terrific team,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ''They're solid on both ends of the court and they showed that. They were very good all night. They passed the ball well - they had 30 assists after three quarters and 37 for the game. They kind of put on a clinic as far as how to share the ball.''
Damian Lillard had 29 points for the Blazers, who have lost five straight following a 1-4 road trip. Despite the slump, Portland has remained atop the Northwest Division, five games in front of Oklahoma City.
The Blazers were without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge because of a left index finger sprain, as well as fellow starting forward Nicolas Batum, who has lower back pain. Backup center Chris Kaman was out because of a right shoulder strain.
Portland was already missing guard Wesley Matthews, who was lost for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon on March 5 against Dallas. The Blazers have gone 3-5 without him.
Because of the absences, Portland started a lineup that included regulars Lillard and Robin Lopez, along with Matthews' replacement Arron Afflalo and reserves Alonzo Gee and Dorell Wright.
Golden State limited guard Klay Thompson to 25 minutes because of a sore ankle that kept him out of three games during the team's homestand. Thompson, who finished with 16 points, returned on Monday night for the Warrior's 107-76 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Draymond Green added 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 16 rebounds.
''We're very comfortable with how we're going to get shots every single night,'' coach Steve Kerr said. ''Then it's just about executing and not turning the ball over, staying aggressive and making the smart plays.''
The Blazers jumped ahead 24-18 early on Lillard's off-balance jumper, and extended the lead to 47-39 on CJ McCollum's 3-pointer.
Lillard's 3 made it 53-41 but Curry answered with consecutive 3-pointers to keep the Blazers from pulling away. Leandro Barbosa's 3-pointer pulled the Warriors within 66-55, but Portland still held a 62-57 advantage at the half.
The Warriors went on a 10-0 run to pull in front 69-66. Lillard hit a 3 to tie it, but Golden State scored nine straight to go up 80-69.
Golden State pushed the lead to as many 17 points. Allen Crabbe's 3-pointer got the Blazers within 100-91 with 8:02 to go, but they couldn't catch up.
Warriors: Golden State beat the Blazers 95-80 earlier this season at the Moda Center. ... Two of Stephen Curry's eight 40-point games came in Portland.
Trail Blazers: Portland had no turnovers in the first quarter and just two in the first half, but they finished with 10. ... McCollum finished with a career-high 23 points. ... It was the first time since 2012 that an opposing team had shot more than 60 percent from the field at the Moda Center.
''It was understated,'' Kerr admitted about the celebration. ''But we got the guys T-shirts, and the guys were excited. I think they took a team photo and they've probably all put it on Instagram already.''
The Warriors, by the way, posted a photo of the team in the locker room with their ''Pacific Claimed'' shirts - which were already on sale on the team store's website for $35.
Warriors visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
Trail Blazers visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.