*SMOOTH DRIVE: Portland Trail Blazers’ Mo Williams (right) drives away with the ball during their NBA match against Warriors last weekend.
Backup center Joel Freeland hit consecutive jumpers to break a 92-all tie, as the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the ejection of two of their guards to record a 10th consecutive victory, 113-101 over the Golden State Warriors last weekend.
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 their third consecutive defeat.
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 skirmish under the Portland basket between Freeland and Warriors centre Andrew Bogut.
When Williams got involved by going after Bogut, the seriousness of the event escalated. Green, Matthews and Aldridge all got involved, with all six players getting technical fouls.
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 as a result of receiving his second technical foul.
Stephen Curry, returning from a two-game absence that resulted from a concussion, hit two free throws as a result of the technical discrepancy (four on Portland, two on Golden State) to increase the lead to 10. When Klay Thompson added a pair of 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 their seventh consecutive road win.
Freeland’s jumpers came after Aldridge had tied the game 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 over a stretch of 5 ½ minutes.
By the time the Warriors’ David Lee ended the drought with 2:52 to go, Portland was fully in command at 104-94.
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.
Thompson, who fouled out with 5:07 to go, led Golden State with 30 points. Curry (22 points, 11 assists) and Lee (15 points, 12 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Warriors, and small forward Harrison Barnes chipped in with 13 points.
The Warriors played without starting small forward Andre Iguodala, who strained his left hamstring in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.