Thompson leads Warriors to 128-108 win over the Blazers

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Klay Thompson scored 36 points, making seven 3-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 128-108 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.

Reigning league MVP Stephen Curry added 26 points and nine assists in three quarters for the Warriors (34-2), who led by as many as 25 points and made 18 3-pointers. Draymond Green finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season.

Curry started despite continued soreness from a bruised left shin that kept him out of a pair of games late last month. He aggravated the injury again when he crashed into Roy Hibbert on Tuesday night and sat out the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 109-98 victory at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Damian Lillard had a season-high 40 points and 10 assists for Portland, which dropped its third straight.

The Warriors remained unbeaten since a 114-91 defeat at Dallas on Dec. 30.

Portland was coming off a 109-98 loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. The loss was notable because starter CJ McCollum was mistakenly left off the active roster turned in before the game and was forced to sit out.

The Warriors jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the start while Portland missed its first nine shots from the field. There was a brief tense moment when Curry collided with Noah Vonleh and came up gingerly.

Green’s fast-break dunk put the Warriors up 24-9 and Thompson had five 3-pointers and 19 points in the opening quarter as Golden State led 38-21.

The Warriors led 74-52 at the break, but Portland opened the third quarter with a 12-4 to cut the margin to 78-65. The threat was short-lived and Golden State stretched the lead to 90-67 after Brandon Rush‘s 3-pointer.

It was Thompson’s third straight game with 30 or more points. Rush had a season-high 20 points.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Interim coach Luke Walton said he met with his Hall of Fame dad Bill for about an hour before the game. The elder Walton, a broadcaster, is in Oregon for the California-Oregon State game on Saturday. Bill Walton was on the Blazers’ NBA championship team in 1977. … Forward James Michael McAdoo is sitting out two games because of a toe injury.

Trail Blazers: Portland is one of the few teams that knows what it’s like to beat Golden State. The Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 118-101 in the preseason despite 30 points from Curry.

KERR IN PORTLAND

Coach Steve Kerr, who is on a leave of absence following offseason back surgery, has recently been traveling with the team and was in Portland. Luke Walton laughed before the game when it was suggested he was wearing an earpiece during games and taking Kerr’s instructions.

“It’s a part of what makes it so great to work for Steve as an assistant: He trusts us,” Walton said.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Visit Sacramento on Saturday night.

Trail Blazers: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

Watch Lance Stephenson get into flopping battle in China

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You can take the flopper out of the NBA but you can’t take the flopping out of his game.

Unable to land an NBA contract this season, Lance Stephenson signed with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. He has taken his flopping skills to China.

However, he may have met his match with one Chinese player, who tried to sell a non-contact, off-the-ball, sniper-in-the-grassy-knoll level flop that even legendary flopper Vlade Divac would have called extreme. The Chinese referees saw through that and awarded a technical to Stephenson’s team.

Then Stephenson drew another foul later in the game with a flop as he tried to grab the ball away from a player after the play. That drew a foul on the opposing player, who complained and then got his own technical.

It’s all just Lance being Lance.

Kyrie Irving out Saturday vs. Bulls due to shoulder injury

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Already without Caris LeVert for a couple of weeks due to thumb surgery, the Nets just lost their primary playmaker for at least one game.

Kyrie Irving is out Saturday night for Brooklyn’s game in Chicago.

Irving has been battling this pain for some time. This is the kind of injury often seen in swimmers where, due to usage, the bones in the shoulder impinge on the tendons or bursa (the sac of fluid in the joint that makes movement smooth and painless).

The treatment for this is generally rest and time off, it would not be surprising if Irving missed more time to get his shoulder healthy and right (a specialist told the New York Post exactly this). Call it load management or whatever you want, better to get Irving healthy now rather than have this be a chronic thing all season long.

Irving is leading the Nets averaging 28.5 points and 7.2 assists a game, hitting 34.1 percent of his threes, and he’s the guy with the ball in his hands being asked to make plays. The Nets offense is 10.4 points per 100 possessions better when Irving is on the court this season.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who has struggled some with his shooting and efficiency to start the season, now will be asked to step up and carry the load. With the Nets off to a 4-7 start, they don’t want to give up a lot more ground in the East playoff chase (the Nets are currently in a four-way tie for the nine-seed, just half a game out of the playoffs).

Kings’ Dwayne Dedmon snags french fry from Lakers’ fan during game (VIDEO)

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The french fries at Staples Center are pretty good. Better than the popcorn.

Kings’ center Dwayne Dedmon was on the bench at one point Saturday night during the Kings’ loss to the Lakers, looked at the dude sitting next to him in fan seats (and look at that guy, he’s a “dude”), and asks if he can have a french fry.

No ketchup or sauce, but the fries seem to get Dedmon’s seal of approval.

A player like Dedmon burns a lot of calories during a game, you got to keep that energy level up with a few carbs. Plus, french fries are awesome. Can’t blame the guy.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo on Malcolm Brogdon: ‘Definitely wish he was still here’

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Malcolm Brogdon is thriving with the Pacers.

The Bucks are doing just fine without him.

But with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s super-max decision rapidly approaching, Milwaukee’s controversial decision to sign-and-trade Brogdon during restricted free agency last summer looms over the entire NBA.

The Bucks visit Indiana tomorrow. So, it’s an opportunity to take Antetokounmpo’s temperature on the move.

Jack Maloney of CBS Sports:

“Wish he was still here” because that’s a nice thing to say about a friend? Or “wish he was still here” because Antetokounmpo wanted the Bucks to handle last offseason differently?

The difference means everything to Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo has consistently said he wants to stay with the Bucks as long as they prioritize winning. Though there were also basketball reasons to move Brogdon, losing him also kept Milwaukee out of the luxury tax. That financial motivation is impossible to overlook.

If the Bucks wanted to keep Brogdon, they could have. They wouldn’t have a first-rounder and two second-rounders incoming from Indiana. They might not have lured Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver in free agency. They’d likely be in the luxury tax. But they would have had Brogdon.

As Antetokounmpo pointed out, Brogdon was complicit in his own exit. Brogdon wanted to play point guard, wanted to have a bigger role. That wasn’t happening in Milwaukee with Eric Bledsoe at point guard and Antetokounmpo as focal point. So, one some level, Antetokounmpo might appreciate the Bucks helping Brogdon get to a more desirable situation rather than leveraging restricted rights over him.

But, at the end of the playoffs, how will Antetokounmpo feel about Brogdon not being at his side for the postseason run? That’s the big question that will determine everything. For now, we’re getting only clues.