PORTLAND, Ore. – These Portland Trail Blazers could nearly be dubbed The Replacements.
With starters Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum and Marcus Camby among those out with injuries, the Blazers had just nine available players but held off the Golden State Warriors for a 96-95 victory on Friday night.
Six of the available Blazers scored in double figures.
"Being shorthanded it was tough, said second-year forward Dante Cunningham, who made his first start of the season and had 13 points. "We definitely needed everybody."
"Definitely," echoed LaMarcus Aldridge, standing nearby.
Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Blazers, but he missed a key jumper with 9.9 seconds to go in the game. That gave the Warriors a chance to win it on the other end, but Monta Ellis' long jumper with 0.8 seconds left was off and fell into the hands of Portland swingman Rudy Fernandez to end it.
"It sure felt good leaving my hand," Ellis said. "It wasn't a bad shot. It just didn't go down."
Golden State was coming off a 108-99 victory Tuesday over Minnesota, which snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Warriors have dropped 13 of 15 overall.
Andre Miller contributed 17 points and eight assists while Fernandez had 15 points for the Blazers.
"Tonight was a little bit tough. We're used to playing without guys, but we're playing without guys," Aldridge said, emphasizing the final "guys."
The Blazers led by 15 in the second half but the Warriors narrowed it to 92-89 on Rodney Carney's 3-pointer with 3:14 left. Miller answered for the Blazers with a falling fadeaway and a free throw to make it 95-89.
After Ellis hit a pair of free throws, Reggie Williams added a short jumper and Golden State closed to 95-93. Aldridge made one of two free throws before Ellis sank a pair to make it 96-95 with 33.5 seconds left.
Aldridge missed his 19-footer before Ellis' failed final attempt for the Warriors.
Camby, Batum, Roy and Joel Przybilla were all sitting out because of injuries.
Przybilla has a left ankle injury, while Camby and Batum have right shoulder soreness. All three were hurt during Friday night's 107-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The trio will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
Roy was sitting out the second of at least three games with a sore left knee. The three-time All-Star also missed three games earlier this season with knee trouble, and coach Nate McMillan has at times limited Roy's minutes.
Roy is averaging 16.9 points per game, falling behind Aldridge in scoring for the Blazers. Roy will be looked at again by doctors next week.
"You look around. You're missing Nico (Batum), Marcus, Roy. The list goes on. It's amazing," said Cunningham.
Aldridge said it was weird having so much room on the bench.
"Everybody got like three chairs," he joked.
The Warriors, meanwhile, were without center Andris Biedrins, out with a sprained left ankle, and guard Stephen Curry, who missed his fourth game with a sprained right ankle. Carney returned after missing six games with a sprained left foot.
With so many regulars sitting out, the pace of the game was slowed considerably.
Portland led by as many as five points early, but Vladimir Radmanovic hit a 3-pointer to pull Golden State to 29-27. Acie Law's layup tied it.
Portland reclaimed the lead when Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer made it 33-31.
The Blazers went on a 16-6 run to close the first half. Miller hit a jumper before a steal by Ellis and finished off by a fast-break layup to give the Blazers a 51-42 lead at the break.
Matthews' dunk made it 69-54 in the third quarter. He finished with 13 points.
"We did everything we could to win the game, that is the good thing about it," Ellis said. "We have to continue to fight hard, play together."
Notes: Earlier in the day the NBA fined Miller $25,000 for throwing the ball into the stands following the Blazers' 103-98 loss to Dallas on Wednesday. ... The Blazers recalled rookie forward Luke Babbitt from the NBA Development League's Idaho Stampede earlier in the day. ... Cunningham has three career starts. ... Australian guard Patty Mills had a career-high 12 points for Portland.