Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

Logan Murdock

PORTLAND -- In the final minute of Monday's matchup against the Trail Blazers, Warriors guard Alec Burks hit two free throws to put the Warriors up three points and in position for their 11th victory.

But 10 seconds later, Blazers guard Damian Lillard made a 3-pointer  to tie the game. D'Angelo Russell then missed a contested 3-pointer, sending the game into an overtime in which the Warriors were outscored 16-11, prompting another loss for the NBA's worst team. 

For a unit with winning ambitions, they've become especially creative in fading in clutch moments. On a night Lillard needed a career-high and an extra session to beat the battered Warriors, Golden State sees the loss as a game botched by untimely mistakes. 

"It was a game that got away from us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the 124-129 loss. 

Three hours before Kerr's declaration, a win seemed feasible. In the second quarter, the Warriors held the Blazers to just 27 percent from the field, taking a 12-point lead, despite playing with only eight players. As the Warriors succeeded, Alec Burks shined, scoring 33 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Along the way, mistakes crippled chances to blow the game open. 

When the Warriors went up 44-35 with four minutes left in the half, Damion Lee fouled Lillard behind the 3-point line, prompting three free throws. Fifteen seconds later, Eric Paschall fouled Mario Hezonja, leading to two more free throws. By the end of the second quarter, a 10-point lead was cut to four.  

More troubling was Golden State's late-game execution. After taking a six-point lead in overtime, the Blazers ended the evening on a 14-3 run as Lillard swished in his 61st point with four seconds left. At night's end, the Blazers made 27 free throws, 16 of which came from Lillard, much to Kerr's chagrin. 

"The game was there for the taking," Kerr said. "You could feel it in the first half. That game was right there for us. You've got to be better. Our effort was good but our execution was not." 

Kerr's frustrations are legitimate and derive from a troubling trend. Of the team's last 11 losses, three have come despite the team leading in the fourth quarter. Dating back to last season, the Warriors have lost their last nine overtime games. 

Five days ago, the team lost to the Nuggets in overtime despite entering the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead. Over the final two quarters, Golden State was outscored 61-46. Six days before the loss to Denver, the Warriors were outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter by the Clippers, losing their seventh straight.

Following his team's latest demise, Kerr passed blame around the locker room. 

"A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter and again down the stretch -- a lot at the end of the game and regulation and overtime," he said. "And I didn't help the guys much, I could've helped the guys out as well. It was a group effort. They're competing, they're playing together, they're playing hard. It's just frustrating."

[RELATED: What names did Charles Barkley just call Steph and Klay?]

A silver lining in Golden State's troubles can be seen along its sidelines Friday evening. With franchise pillar Steph Curry in a suit and former All-Star Draymond Green on the end of the bench, the listless Warriors nearly pushed Portland to the brink. But, as Kerr and his team know well, success is measured by wins over development. 

"I think we played well," Warriors forward Marquese Chriss said. "There are little things that we can fix that might change the way that the game turned out. All we can do at this point is to learn from it and talk about it and try not to let it happen again." 

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area