What we learned as Klay's birthday spoiled by Warriors' loss


For the fourth time this season, the Warriors were a win away from climbing three games over .500.

And for the fourth time, they stumbled and fell.

A dreadful fourth quarter Wednesday night in Portland sent the Warriors to a 125-122 loss to the Trail Blazers at Moda Center.

Jordan Poole finished with a game-high 38 points and Klay Thompson put in 31, but that wasn’t enough to offset Portland’s physicality and its 32-10 advantage in free throws.

Here are three observations from a game in which the Warriors (28-27) were undone by a scoreless five-minute stretch over the final six minutes of the game:

The Size Issue

Golden State’s relatively short stature in the frontcourt can be problematic at times, particularly when Kevon Looney gets into foul trouble.

With the trade deadline looming, this game shined a bright spotlight on the issue.

Looney picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and played only 12 minutes through the first three quarters. That surely was a factor in the Warriors being punished in the paint.

The Blazers owned the glass, outrebounding the Warriors 26-15 in the first half and 47-32 for the game.

Points in the paint? Portland posted a 34-16 advantage in the first half and finished with a 66-42 margin.

There were several areas in which the Warriors were inferior, but this is where they were beaten.

The metrics on this night provided a vivid illustration of the roster’s weakness inside. The next few hours should be interesting.

JP and the Birthday Boy

Insofar as it was his 33rd birthday, Thompson likely had this game circled in his calendar from the moment the schedule was released. Poole could not have known he’d start and play 35 minutes.

Their combined 69 points – the backcourt’s second consecutive game producing “Splash Brothers” totals without Stephen Curry – represented the bulk of the Warriors’ offense.

Thompson’s 20-point first half, including 6-of-12 shooting from deep, kept the Warriors afloat in the first half. His 31 points came on 12-of-28 shooting from the field, including 7 of 19 from distance.

Poole, who scored 15 points in the first half, saved his best after intermission, pouring in 23 points over the final 24 minutes. He was 13 of 25 from the field, including 7 of 12 from deep, to reach his total of 38 points. 

Timeouts matter . . . but not enough

When Portland center Drew Eubanks cut through three Warriors to pull an Anfernee Simons miss out of the air and slam it though, give the Blazers a 56-47 lead with 5:19 left in the first half, Steve Kerr had seen enough.

The coach signaled for an immediate timeout because, well, he wanted to share his thoughts with his team.

The Warriors heard him.

After slumbering through much of the game in third gear, they came out of the timeout and shifted through fourth and fifth gears and shoved it into overdrive. They outscored Portland 20-7 over the rest of the half to take a 67-63 lead into the locker room at intermission.

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The Warriors, led by Green, began defending with ferocity – allowing only two field goals while forcing four turnovers – and blasting their way to easy transition buckets.

Some timeouts are timelier than others, and this one felt essential.

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