Team Records: Portland (33-11) at Golden State (26-18)
Game Info: 6 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Golden State -5
Refs: Mike Callahan, Kane Fitzgerald, JT Orr
The Skinny: The Blazers look to secure their second road win in Oakland this season as they face the always tough Warriors. This is a game Portland needs to win to keep pace with OKC in the race for which team’s coach will lead the Western Conference All-Stars next month in New Orleans. Golden State is coming off a narrow loss at home to Minnesota in their last game and has lost three straight home games and four of five overall.
Last Time They Met: In what may be the defining moment of the season so far, Andrew Bogut of the Warriors instigated a fight with Golden State leading 77-63 in the third that led to Wesley Matthews and Mo Williams (as well as Draymond Green of the Warriors) being tossed. Out manned, Aldridge stepped up big time and buried Golden State. When the dust had settled, LMA had 30 points and 21 rebounds and the Blazers won going away for a rare Blazers win in Oakland.
Projected Warriors Lineup:
PF-David Lee (Florida-9th Season) 19.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.3 APG.
SF-Andre Iguodala (Arizona-10th Season)-10 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.7 APG.
C-Andrew Bogut (Utah-9th Season)-8.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.6 APG
SG-Klay Thompson (Washington State-3rd Season)-19.1 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.5 APG.
PG-Stephen Curry (Davidson-5th Season)-23.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.3 APG.
Player to Watch-Klay Thompson (pictured at right)-Much as with Curry, there remained questions as to whether Thompson’s shooting prowess would translate well to the NBA. Much as with Curry, these ended up being unnecessary worries as Thompson’s shooting talents have translated very well to this level. Klay Thompson is a deadly accurate three point shooter, making 42% of his attempts this season. He is a decent free throw shooter as well but he doesn’t get much of a chance to show it as he doesn’t attack inside very much. Thompson’s defense is okay at best but given the other good defenders the team has (most notably Andre Iguodala), you can hide this weakness and ride his strong offensive talents as far as he can carry you. Klay Thompson is a key piece of Golden State’s core and of their hopes for a deep playoff run this year.
Did You Know?: Klay Thompson’s father is Mychal Thompson, Portland’s #1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft and current LA Lakers broadcaster.
Song of the Day: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty as performed by Johnny Cash-In honor of Portland not backing down to the fight Bogut started the last time the two teams met. Enjoy:
Golden State: Out-C Festus Ezeli (Knee), C Jermaine O’Neal (Wrist), PG/SG Nemanja Nedovic (Hamstring)
Re-Evaluating Golden State: No Longer Unbeatable at Home
So far this year the Warriors are 12-7 at home, which isn’t bad but for a team that had long prided itself on being near unbeatable at home, it is quite a downturn. Considering that the Warriors lost only 13 games at home last year, losing seven already this season is not perhaps the best sign. However, there is an explanation. Every single one of the Warriors home losses is to a quality opponent, and most of them were very close games. That sort of variance will happen from one year to the next and by the end of the year, the Warriors will probably have picked up the winning percentage at home. Sure it doesn’t look great now but that doesn’t mean that the Warriors can’t turn it around and make their home arena a den of horrors from visiting teams, as they have been doing for years, even when the team was not very good.
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 their second win of the year in Oakland.
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.