Team Records: Portland (33-39) at Golden State (41-32)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: Golden State -9.5
Refs: Ron Garretson, Marat Kogut, Leon Wood.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from a fourth quarter to forget Friday as they travel to Oakland to face the Warriors. Golden State has shaken off its post all-star break slump as of late, although they stubbed their toe with a bad home loss to the Kings their last time out. Golden State’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is currently down to 4.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers dug themselves too big a hole and even a monster 37 points from Lillard couldn’t quite dig them out as Golden State prevailed.
Projected Warriors Lineup:
PF-David Lee (Florida-8th Season) 18.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.7 APG.
SF-Harrison Barnes (North Carolina-Rookie)-9.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.2 APG.
C-Andrew Bogut (Utah-8th Season)-6.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.4 APG
SG-Klay Thompson (Washington State-2nd Season)-16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.2 APG.
PG-Stephen Curry (Davidson-4th Season)-22.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 6.8 APG.
Player to Watch-Klay Thompson (pictured at right) –Thompson is primarily an outside shooter with decent size for his position. His size allows him to play decent defense as well. However, although he is big, he is not fast and so he can struggle to defend faster smaller players. In addition, as good a shooter as he is, he can be wildly inconsistent at times. Still, if Thompson gets into a groove watch you because he can pile up points in a hurry, as he has several times in recent games.
Did You Know?: Did You Know?: Klay’s father Mychal Thompson, was picked first overall by the Blazers in the 1978 NBA Draft.
Song of the Day: “Nice Guys Finish Last” by Green Day-We all know the Blazers are mostly nice guys and since they aren’t going to make the playoffs, it is true once again that nice guys finish last. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Ankle), Doubtful-SF Sasha Pavlovic (Quad).
Golden State: Out- SG Brandon Rush (ACL/MCL).
Re-Evaluating Golden State: Defense?
Golden State of the past several years has been pretty consistent in that they play good offense and almost no defense. This year, part of their success has been a result of changing that. Their defensive efficiency is way up, down to 102.3, good for 13th in the league. This is probably as much effort as it is coaching and improved talent. If the Warriors are to make a playoff run, this improved defense will be key to letting them do so.
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 able to make Lillard’s homecoming a happy one.
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.