OAKLAND -- It didn't matter they nearly blew a 20-point lead. Or that Portland's rookie guard Damian Lillard made a YouTube highlight against their defense.

The Warriors are at a point on their schedule where all that matters is they get the win. And that they did Friday, 103-97, snapping their first two-game losing streak since early November.

"I think it's good for us overall because we found a way," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "This is preparing us. Like I told my guys, where we expect to go, in these games, you are going to have to find a way to stop special players."

Certainly, Lillard was special in the second half Friday. The Oakland native put on a show in his first pro game in his hometown, much to the delight of the bevy of supporters donning Portland's colors at Oracle Arena.

Lillard finished with a career-high 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting. He knocked down five of his seven 3-pointers in the second half, nearly leading Portland to its second thrilling comeback in two nights.

In the end, the Warriors -- now 19-1 when leading after three quarters -- made just enough shots, scrambled just enough on defense, secured just enough rebounds.

The Warriors (23-12) desperately needed a win. Not only were they pounded in back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies, but their schedule gets even more brutal next week. A win in any of their next three games would be considered a feat: at Denver on Saturday, vs. Miami on Wednesday, at San Antonio next Friday.


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For that reason, the Warriors could ill-afford a loss to Portland (20-16), which beat Miami on Thursday night.

"This is a tough stretch for us," forward David Lee said after totaling 24 points and 10 rebounds, outplaying Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (seven points on 3-of-14 shooting).

"We're just going to take it one game at a time. We're going to get some oxygen right now, then go to Denver, and we plan on going there and getting a victory."

Golden State led by as much as 19 in the first half. That lead was up to 67-47 after a Lee jumper midway through the third quarter.

But the Warriors failed to put away Portland. The Blazers, down 78-63 entering the fourth quarter, got some life from their rookie point guard.

Lillard knocked down three straight jumpers, two of them 3-pointers, to put Portland back into striking distance. His second 3-pointer, which he pulled up from Walnut Creek, cut the Warriors' lead to 82-74 with 9:43 left in the game.

But Lillard was just beginning. He went on to score 17 points in the fourth quarter as Jackson turned from Jarrett Jack to Klay Thompson to Kent Bazemore to try to stop Lillard.

His driving layup with 5:21 left cut the Warriors' lead to seven. At the 1:41 mark, his runner pulled Portland within six.

Stephen Curry found forward Carl Landry for a layup with 24.7 seconds left, putting the Warriors up 100-94. But just before Warriors' faithful could get comfortable, Lillard -- inexplicably wide open at the top of the circle -- nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Warriors' lead to three.

Curry drilled a couple free throws with 16.4 seconds left. Warriors rookie forward Draymond Green secured the game by blocking Lillard's last 3-point attempt in the final seconds.

"He has talent," Curry, who had 22 points and 12 assists, said of Lillard. "He's probably going to be Rookie of the Year, and he showed a lot tonight. I look forward to playing him again. Hopefully we stop him."

  • It wasn't far-fetched that Oracle could have become Lillard's home court, especially with Curry's health still uncertain at the time of last June's NBA draft.

    "I definitely thought it was a possibility," Lillard said before the game. "I thought we could play together. I thought me and him could be on the floor at the same time the same way they do it with he and (Jarrett) Jack."

    The Trail Blazers drafted Lillard sixth overall, one pick before the Warriors selected Harrison Barnes.

    No doubt, Golden State was high on Lillard. The Warriors still didn't know what would become of Curry's troublesome right ankle. So if Lillard made it to the No. 7 spot, some tough discussions would have taken place in the Warriors' draft room -- even if Barnes was still on the board.

    "Damian Lillard is a very good player with a bright, bright future," Jackson said. "We knew it at the draft, and he has certainly done everything to show that people had the right assessment of his ability. He's a high character kid, tough, has no flaws on the floor."

  • The Warriors played without center Andris Biedrins, who was hampered by a strained right groin.

    That left rookie Festus Ezeli as the only healthy center.

    Sunday's game

    Warriors (23-12) at Denver (22-16), 5 p.m., CSNBA