Team Records: Golden State (41-26) at Portland (42-23)
Game Info: 6 PM-TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Golden State -1.5
Refs: Tony Brothers, Eric Lewis, Kevin Scott
The Skinny: The Blazers look to build off a needed road win in New Orleans Friday as they open a three game homestand against a Warriors team that, flying high just a few games ago, has suddenly found itself knocked down a peg as they have two straight blowout losses. The Warriors have been very much up and down this season and would like this win to stabilize the proverbial ship before they embark on a five-game homestand.
Last Time They Met: Curry erupted for 38 points as Golden State broke open a close game with a big run early in the 3rd to get a little bit of revenge for Portland’s win in Oakland earlier in the season.
Projected Warriors Lineup:
PF-David Lee (Florida-9th Season) 18.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.2 APG.
SF-Harrison Barnes (North Carolina-2nd Season)-9.8 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.4 APG.
C-Andrew Bogut (Utah-9th Season)-7.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.6 APG
SG-Andre Iguodala (Arizona-10th Season)-9.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.3 APG.
PG-Stephen Curry (Davidson-5th Season)-23.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 8.6 APG.
Player to Watch-Harrison Barnes (pictured at right)-I’ll admit, last year one of the players I absolutely didn’t want Portland to draft was Harrison Barnes. I thought he was overrated due to coming out of a top tier school, a flashy player who was far more substance than style. Well he is that, underwhelming more than a little bit with his shooting, not a great rebounder for someone his size but at least decent on defense. Yet, he fills an important role for the Warriors as, although inconsistent he can have nights where he goes wild and scores a bunch of points, but they happen far too infrequently for him to be counted on. Still, if the Warriors want to make any sort of playoff run this year, Barnes will likely have to step up.
Did You Know?: The Warriors have won 20 road games already this season for only the eighth time in franchise history.
Song of the Day: “Sweet Victory” by David Glen Eisley-This Blazers team won’t back down from Bogut and his thuggish ways, and they will hopefully enjoy sweet sweet victory Sunday. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Back), PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee), Probable-PG Mo Williams (Hip)
Golden State: Out-C Festus Ezeli (Knee), Probable-SG Klay Thompson (Personal reasons)
Re-Evaluating Golden State: Stuck in Neutral
The last time the Warriors made the playoffs in consecutive seasons was from 1990-1992. They will likely do again this year but if they get no farther than last year’s second round exit, or possibly go out in the opening round, it will seem like a wasted year for Golden State. A team with so much promise that went out and addressed its glaring defensive hole last offseason, the Warriors just simply lack the consistency to be a top-tier team. They are so dependent on Curry having a big night (either scoring or passing) to beat a top opponent and have had some bad luck in a few close games that they are currently unlikely to get anywhere near homecourt advantage this year. In fact, it is far more likely they will finish with the exact same seed they had last year (sixth) than anything else. Baring a deep playoff run and with many of their cards on the table, one has to ask if the Warriors can make this year stuck in neutral a blip in their rise or will it become their ceiling, good enough to make the playoffs and maybe win a series but never seriously contending for a title.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make their 3 pointers. The Warriors are a stingy team from deep and as Portland relies heavily on the 3, if they can make their deep shots, they should be snatch win this.
Golden State wins if: They hold Portland under 100 points. The Warriors are going to score a lot of points and at their pace if they can keep Portland under the century mark, they should win.