OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry's return to the lineup gave the Warriors' health situation a much-needed shot of positivism Saturday night.
Alas, even with Curry back, the Warriors still didn't look very healthy or positive in their play, at least when it mattered. The surprising Portland Trail Blazers overcame a 14-point deficit and two ejections from a third-quarter scuffle to whip the Warriors 113-101 at Oracle Arena.
Curry, out for two games with a mild concussion, was deemed healthy enough to play just before game time, and for a good long while, it looked as though he would be the perfect tonic for the Warriors' ending a two-game losing streak.
But Golden State suffered a confounding meltdown after an altercation between the two teams with 3:42 left in the third quarter and the hosts up 79-71. Even though the Blazers took the worst of it in the technical fouls and ejections assessed, it lit their fire and strangely doused the Warriors'.
Led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a principal in the melee who received one of six technicals assessed because of it, the Blazers outscored the Warriors 42-22 after the scuffle. Aldridge, who scored 30 points and added 21 rebounds for the 12-2 Blazers, simply could not be stopped down the stretch.
What happened to the Warriors after the rumble?
"Just bad basketball," coach Mark Jackson said. "They had their way on the offensive end, we did not defend without fouling, LaMarcus Aldridge got it going, and they hurt us. And then we were not disciplined on the offensive end. We did not respond once the altercation took place."
The melee ensued when Warriors center Andrew Bogut tangled underneath the Portland basket with Blazers backup big man Joel Freeland, touching off a free-for-all that took nearly a minute to contain.
Aldridge, Mo Williams and Wesley Matthews came to Freeland's defense and went after Bogut, and the Warriors' Draymond Green jumped into the fray to help out Bogut. No serious blows were struck, but after the three officials reviewed the tape, Portland's Williams and Matthews were ejected, as was Green for Golden State.
Bogut declined to comment on what touched off the scuffle but was more blunt about what happened afterward.
"They went on a run, and we kind of crumbled," he said. "It was not one thing. They got in the paint very, very easily. They broke us down off the dribble. They got to every loose ball before us, they had more offensive rebounds than us.
"They deserved to win, they made us look silly out there, especially in the fourth quarter."
Jackson was no less harsh in his assessment.
"We have to get back to who we truly are," he said. "It starts on the defensive end, it starts with executing offensively, it starts with playing with great energy and effort for 48 minutes. And we will do it, but it's disappointing right now."
With the score tied at 92-all early in the fourth quarter, Portland went on a 12-0 run for a 104-92 lead with less than three minutes left to effectively put away the game. Freeland hit short jumpers on back-to-back possessions to start the run, Aldridge hit four free throws, Nicolas Batum hit a shot underneath and Oakland native Damian Lillard, who scored 20 points and dished nine assists, hit two free throws with 3:14 left to make it 104-92.
Curry was good in spurts and scored 22 points with 11 assists, but he hit just 8 of 21 shots (2 for 9 from 3-point range) and committed five turnovers. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting, but he was in foul trouble throughout the game and finally fouled out with 5:07 to go.
"Yeah, it's on me," Thompson said. "I'll learn, it won't happen again. I've got to play less with my hands and take less chances."
Warriors (8-6) at New Orleans (6-6), CSNBA 5 p.m.
Andre Iguodala won't need hamstring surgery. page 6