Warriors Roar Back to Defeat Trail Blazers in NBA Showdown
SAN FRANCISCO— Jonathan Kuminga finally checked into the game for the first time with 4:45 left in the third quarter. He hadn’t even been in coach Steve Kerr’s pregame plans against Portland, not expected to be part of the rotation given how hard it is for Kerr balancing all the minutes on a deep roster.
The Golden State Warriors needed everything they got from the high-flying Kuminga down the stretch to combat the Trail Blazers’ athleticism and youth. Kerr’s decision paid off.
Stephen Curry overcame a slow start to score 31 points while Kuminga dazzled for 13 points as the Warriors rallied to beat Portland 110-106 on Wednesday night.
“I’m always ready,” Kuminga said.
Kuminga dunked on a pretty alley-oop from Draymond Green with 1:03 left and made all six of his field goals. Kuminga also stole the ball from Toumani Camara with 29 seconds to go and his team ahead 105-104, leading to a 3 by Curry.
“He was great, he was the key to the game, he stayed ready. He was out of the rotation just because it’s hard to play 10 guys,” Kerr said about Kuminga. “… We obviously needed him. The game called for JK, just with Portland’s youth and athleticism we needed to be able to match that.”
Anfernee Simons scored 28 points to lead the Trail Blazers. Shaedon Sharpe added 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, but missed a free throw with 1:18 remaining.
The Warriors were just 10 for 34 from long range, five of those by Curry. His Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, was limited to 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting — including 1 of 8 on 3s. He missed a chance to tie it from behind the arc with 4:49 left but converted a key layup at the 1:59 mark.
Golden State’s 17 turnovers led to 23 Portland points on a night the Warriors welcomed back Andrew Wiggins and Chris Paul from injuries. Paul had miss the previous two games with a lower left leg nerve contusion, while Wiggins also sat out the same pair of games against the Clippers with right finger soreness.
Kuminga’s steal and transition dunk with 3:37 left in the third pulled the Warriors to 77-74. Dario Saric’s layup with 10:31 left in the game tied it at 86 then he added a 3 at the 9:26 mark.
“Doing whatever I just did out there, that’s our job as young guys,” Kuminga said. “We’re the young guys, we’re supposed to help our team, bring energy.”
Camara grabbed 13 rebounds as the Blazers wrapped up a five-game road trip with their first matchup against the Warriors this season. This game was added to the schedule when the teams were eliminated from the In-Season Tournament.
Green, who had made two or more 3s in three straight games but wound up 0 for 2 from deep, just missed a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Portland rookie Scoot Henderson picked up his third foul early in the first quarter facing the Warriors for the first time and Curry, who served as a mentor offering guidance to Henderson and his family last spring leading up to the NBA draft.
Golden State has won the last three meetings overall and six in a row at home against Portland.
With his 214th straight regular-season game, Kevon Looney tied Thompson for 10th place on the franchise list for consecutive contests.
UP NEXT FOR WARRIORS, TRAIL BLAZERS
Trail Blazers: Host Dallas on Friday night.
Warriors: At Oklahoma City on Saturday night in a recently scheduled game after elimination from the In-Season Tournament followed by a Tuesday game in Phoenix that will give the team three days in the desert.