PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephen Curry had just five points in the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers. He knew the second half was going to be different from his first shot.
“You see one go in and that’s all you really need confidence-wise,” he said. That first shot? It was a 3-pointer.
Curry finished with 28 points, 23 in the third quarter alone, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 127-104 on Tuesday night to extend their early season winning streak to three games.
Ian Clark came off the bench with a career-high 22 points for the Warriors, who have rebounded after a season-opening loss to San Antonio. Kevin Durant added 20 points and Golden State rested its starters down the stretch after leading by as many as 35 points.
Damian Lillard had 31 points for the Blazers, who fell in five games to the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals last season. Playing the first of a back-to-back, Portland coach Terry Stotts also went to his reserves with eight minutes left.
The Blazers beat the Warriors 137-105 in Portland last February, with Oakland native Lillard scoring a career-high 51 points against his hometown team. It was one of just nine losses for the Warriors. Lillard averaged 36.5 points against the Warriors last season.
“They played their game. In the first half, we were right there. In the second half, they stuck with it,” Lillard said. “Their defense was more consistent than ours, and their offense was more free than ours was. We needed to have more of a presence.”
Lillard scored with 0.3 seconds left to give the Blazers a 115-113 win at Denver on Saturday. He finished with 37 points.
Clark, who averaged fewer than 3.0 points in Golden State’s first three games, scored 16 in the first half. Clark’s 3-pointer midway through the second quarter extended Golden State’s lead to 47-38. Clark hit his first 3-point attempt after going 1 for 7 from the perimeter in the Warriors’ first three games.
Lillard’s 3-pointer pulled the Blazers within 55-51 but Golden State led 59-53 at the break. Lillard finished the first half with 22 points in just under 18 minutes.
CJ McCollum, who finished with 16 points, made consecutive 3s to pull Portland within 76-69.
Curry made a layup and a free throw to put the Warriors up 94-71 late in the third quarter as the game slipped out of reach for Portland.
“I’ve never seen anybody quite like him who can turn it on that quickly and turn a horrible game into a brilliant game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s what makes Steph who he is.”
Golden State was coming off a 106-100 victory over Phoenix on Sunday.
Warriors: Kerr was asked pregame if the team was in danger of looking past Portland to the Thunder and Durant’s first game against his former team on Thursday. “I don’t know how you’d look past the Blazers,” Kerr said. … Durant scored 94 points in his first three games as a Warrior. Only Wilt Chamberlain had more, with 120 points in his first three games with the Philadelphia Warriors.
Trail Blazers: The sellout crowd was enthusiastic, even giving Lillard a standing ovation for an early 3-pointer that put Portland up 14-7. … Lillard has scored at least 25 points against the Warriors in seven straight games.
“I told him he looked like Riley Curry in the first half and Steph Curry in the second half,” Kerr said about his postgame chat with Curry. For the record, Riley Curry is 4 years old.
WHO IS THAT GUY?:
Jake Layman came off the bench in the fourth quarter for the Blazers, essentially in garbage time, and scored 17 points in eight minutes, including five 3-pointers.
He’s the first Blazer ever to make five 3s in a debut, and finished one shy of the franchise record in a quarter. He had the most points for a first game with the Blazers since Lillard had 23 as a rookie in 2012.
Layman was a second-round pick in last June’s NBA draft out of Maryland.
“In the position I’m in, no matter when you go in you’ve got to play hard. That’s what was going through my mind,” Layman said.
AND HOW ABOUT CLARK?
In his third fourth year out of Belmont, Clark averaged 3.0 points and 7.9 minutes in 119 games with one start going into this season. He was 8 of 8 from the field against the Blazers, becoming the first Golden State reserve to hit at least eight field goals in a game without a miss since Chris Mullin in a game against Milwaukee in 1996.
BEEN A LONG TIME:
Durant extended his streak of games with at least 20 points to 68, which is the longest since Michael Jordan’s 69-game streak in 1990-91, according to the Warriors.
Warriors: Host the Thunder on Thursday, reuniting Durant with his former team.
Trail Blazers: Open a three-game trip against the Suns on Wednesday night.
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