Curry leads Warriors past Trail Blazers, 103-88

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been pleading with his players to improve their defensive effort and efficiency for most of the last two weeks.

They finally answered his call.

Stephen Curry had 38 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the Warriors used a smothering defense to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 103-88 on Sunday night.

“Just what the doctor ordered,” Jackson said.

Curry, the Western Conference’s newly elected All-Star starting point guard, shot 13 of 23 from the floor while wearing shiny gold shoes to carry the offensive load. The Warriors did it all on defense together, though, building a 22-point lead midway through the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Golden State outshot Portland 41.8 percent to 33.7 percent and forced 15 turnovers while committing only nine. It was a season low in points and shooting percentage and it tied the largest margin of defeat for the Blazers, who entered averaging an NBA-best 109.5 points.

“Just the will to win,” Curry said. “We understand that’s been one of our problems - just letting teams kind of cake walk around on the offensive end doing whatever they want to do early in the game.”

Damian Lillard had 16 points and four assists, and Wesley Matthews scored 21 for the Blazers, who had a quick turnaround after beating Minnesota in Portland on Saturday night.

The Blazers had not been held below 40 percent shooting all season. The defeat equaled a 116-101 loss to Houston on Nov. 5 for Portland’s most lopsided margin.

“That was a rough game,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “The first half both teams played pretty well, but the second half we didn’t have much going at the offensive end. Golden State did a nice job with its defense. It was just one of those nights where we just didn’t have enough at the offensive end.”

David Lee added 17 points and 12 rebounds while playing with a sprained left shoulder, and Klay Thompson scored 17 for a Warriors team that had lost three straight at home.

Jackson has been waiting for his team to correct its defensive deficiencies of late, even after victories. Golden State allowed an average of 92.8 points during a 10-game winning streak before dropping five of its last seven overall, allowing 108.4 points in those contests, including an average of 115 in the five losses.

The Warriors never let the Blazers get comfortable. LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 11 rebounds and 10 points on 2-of-14 shooting, didn’t score until 2:18 remained in the second quarter.

“Just one of those nights where I couldn’t get going and I didn’t find a rhythm,” Aldridge said.

And the only time Aldridge started to get going, the Warriors responded.

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