Team Records: Golden State (22-34) at Portland (27-31)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on ESPN/KGW, Radio on 750 the Game.
Vegas Line: Portland-6
The Skinny: The Blazers face the first of two nationally televised games in a row tonight as they welcome the Warriors to the Rose Garden in a battle of which team cares marginally more about winning. The Warriors are coming off a shellacking by the Nuggets in their last game, losing by almost 40 and it wasn’t that close. The Nuggets started the game on a 30-7 run and never led by less than 18 the rest of the way.
Last Time they Met: The Blazers won an ugly game in Portland as Raymond Felton played one of his best games of the year but it was a late Aldridge shot that put Portland ahead for good with less than 40 seconds to play that won this one.
Projected Warriors Lineup:
PF-David Lee (Florida-7th Season) 19.9 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.8 APG.
SF-Dorrell Wright (South Kent Prep (HS)-8th Season)-9.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.5 APG.
C-Jeremy Tyler (San Diego (HS)-Rookie)-3.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, .3 APG
SG-Klay Thompson (Washington State-Rookie)-11.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.7 APG.
PG-Charles Jenkins (Hofstra-Rookie)-4.9 PPG, 1 RPG, 2.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Jeremy Tyler (pictured at right)-If you had asked most NBA scouts a few years ago where Tyler would have been drafted, you would have been hard pressed to find one that would have seen him dropping past the mid-first round. Yet after making the decision to go pro and play overseas rather than go to college for a year revealed both perhaps a lack of talent as well as real maturity issues, Tyler fell all the way to 40th in last year’s draft. When he’s right, his sheer physicality, strength and long arms make him an effective player but he’s very raw. If Tyler wants any chance to succeed at this level, he’ll have to work hard at it, something he has shown no inclination he will do.
Did You Know?: The Warriors are 8-15 this year in games that have been within three points in the last 90 seconds, two of which were their last two losses to Portland.
Song of the Day: “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. Since what both these teams want to do is go for lottery position, they want to go free fallin’ down the standings. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder), PF Shawne Williams (Foot), Questionable-PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Hip).
Golden State: Out-C Andrew Bogut (Fractured Ankle), PG Stephen Curry (Sprained Ankle).
Re-Evaluating Golden State: Why ESPN?
When ESPN sets their national TV schedule for any sport, one would guess that they want to pick games that are nationally relevant. Dallas at Portland this Friday is one such example, Portland may not be good but Dallas is the defending champs and a national draw. However, one has to wonder what ESPN was thinking when they booked this game for a national broadcast. Given that this is the second national TV game between these two this season (Portland’s win in GS back in February was also on ESPN), and even without being able to figure both teams are tanking, one wonders if even many Blazer or Warrior fans will watch this. Perhaps the most interested observers may indeed be fans of teams near either squad in the lottery pecking order. Since that is all this game is about, determining how many combinations each of these two will have in next month’s Draft Lottery.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They don’t fall asleep on defense. Without Monta or Curry, the Warriors don’t have a lot of offensive talent. They can still got hot from deep if you aren’t focused however. Portland must be to win this.
Golden State wins if: They make their 3s. The Warriors, perhaps even morseo than before the midseason trades, needs to hit deep shots to win. If they want to do so Wednesday, they will have to make plenty of 3s.