Greg Oden and Anthony Morrow have almost nothing in common, yet Portland's earthshaking center and Golden State's smooth shooting guard both took graceful steps forward in their young careers during the same ragtag game.
Stephen Jackson scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Warriors overcame Oden's 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 111-106 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Oden, the top pick in last year's draft, is the most heralded NBA newcomer of the last two seasons, while Morrow is an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech who thought he might have to play in Europe this year. They both showed incredible promise at Oracle Arena, but both ceded the spotlight to more experienced teammates down the stretch in Golden State's seventh straight home win over the Blazers.
Morrow followed up his 37-point performance three days earlier with 25 points for Golden State, including three free throws with 5.6 seconds to play, after sitting out most of the final seven minutes.
"We have guys on this team that are All Star-caliber players, so I just try to play off of them," Morrow said. "They told me to stay aggressive. They told me to not worry about any pressure, and don't worry about coming out here trying to prove that 37 wasn't a fluke."
Warriors coach Don Nelson mostly kept his surprising new find on the bench while Jackson and Corey Maggette, who also scored 20 points, barely held off the Blazers and Oden, who had the best night of his five-game NBA career.
Oden went 8-for-12 and played 30 minutes through foul trouble. Brandon Roy had 22 points and nine assists, and Rudy Fernandez added 13 points and seven rebounds before committing a personal foul and a technical foul leading to Morrow's clinching free throws.
Oden got little pleasure from his rim-rocking performance, since he also made five of Portland's 21 turnovers.
"I want to put that loss on me," Oden said. "We were scrapping, trying to get it back, and it just didn't seem to go our way. We've got to take care of the ball. ... You can't expect to beat somebody in their home gym by giving them 21 extra possessions."
Oden put on a show down low, violently shaking the basket standard and shot clock with five two-handed dunks in the second half, including a thunderous rebound slam with 6:01 to play that pulled Portland to 94-91. But the Warriors twice knocked the ball out of Oden's hands while he wound up to dunk in the final minutes, and Oden scored just two points in the final six minutes.
"Greg Oden did a great job just dominating the paint, doing what he does, getting us into more of a rhythm," Roy said. "He is getting his confidence, which is good for our team."
Portland, which lost for just the second time in seven games, trailed throughout the final 22 minutes, but still made it interesting. Golden State had a five-point lead and the ball with 13 seconds left, but the Blazers pulled to 108-105 on Roy's steal and layup.
Morrow then fumbled the ball out of bounds, and Travis Outlaw hit one free throw -- but referee Bob Delaney called Outlaw for a lane violation on the next shot, which would have cut Golden State's lead to one. Fernandez then was called for holding on the inbounds play, and the Spanish star compounded his obvious foul by drawing a T for arguing. Morrow hit all three free throws to ice it.
Nelson thought the spotlight belonged not on Morrow or Oden, but Golden State's 24-of-25 free-throw shooting after halftime.
"We don't normally do that," Nelson said. "We made our free throws tonight, still had a little drama, and have definitely learned something. Coach doesn't have too many complaints."
Andris Biedrins added 17 points and nine assists for Golden State, and Kelenna Azubuike scored 15.
Morrow went 15-for-20 against the Clippers in a stunning matinee performance Saturday that left the Staples Center crowd chanting the name of a largely unknown shooting guard from Georgia Tech. He looked awfully good in his second career start as well, hitting three 3-pointers in the second quarter as Golden State took a 51-49 halftime lead.
Morrow then scored 11 points in the third quarter on a handful of whip-quick jumpers that elicited audible gasps and raucous cheers from the Golden State crowd. Morrow made eight of his first 11 shots against Portland before sitting out most of the final seven minutes.
Notes:@ Morrow is the first Golden State rookie with back-to-back 25-point games since Marc Jackson did it in December 2000. ... Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge struggled with foul trouble all night, scoring just four points in 19 minutes before fouling out. ... The Blazers hadn't lost seven straight in the Bay Area since losing in their first nine trips from 1970-73.