Team Records: Golden State (20-26) at Portland (22-26)
Game Info: 6 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 750 the Game.
Vegas Line: Portland-8.5
The Skinny: The Blazers return home for a three-game homestand that opens with a Warriors team that is fully committed to tanking the rest of the season in order to secure a top draft pick. Having traded Monta Ellis and with Stephen Curry out possibly for the rest of the year, the only question seems to be how many games they will manage to lose. They are, however, coming off a win over the Kings last night so you never know.
Last Time they Met: The Blazers came in without Aldridge the night after losing at home to the Wizards and got a rare road win in Oakland. Jamal Crawford and Gerald Wallace were a 1-2 punch as the Blazers hit big shots late to walk out with a win.
Projected Warriors Lineup:
PF-David Lee (Florida-7th Season) 19.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.5 APG.
SF-Dorrell Wright (South Kent Prep (HS)-8th Season)-10.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG.
C-Jeremy Tyler (San Diego (HS)-Rookie)-2.1 PPG, 1.5 RPG, .2 APG
SG-Klay Thompson (Washington State-Rookie)-9.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.6 APG.
PG-Charles Jenkins (Hofstra-Rookie)-2.6 PPG, .7 RPG, 1.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Klay Thompson (pictured at right)-When a team decides to tank and hope for a top draft pick, there are always at least a few players who benefit from the extra opportunities. Such is the case for Klay Thompson. A lottery pick after this past season, 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 did when he scored 31 in Golden State’s win Saturday night vs. Sacramento.
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 as are the Warriors but since neither of these teams are going to make the playoffs, it is true once again that nice guys finish last. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder), PF Shawne Williams (Foot).
Golden State: Out-C Andrew Bogut (Fractured Ankle), PG Stephen Curry (Sprained Ankle), Questionable-C Andris Biedrins (Groin), PG Nate Robinson (Hamstring).
Re-Evaluating Golden State: The Fine Art of Tanking
Some teams like Charlotte this year or Cleveland the year before they drafted LeBron begin the year intending to tank. Some teams end up effectively tanking whether they mean to or not because they simply aren’t very good and then some teams like Golden State decide a chance at a playoff berth is worth less than a top draft. The fine art of tanking in the NBA has been practiced for many years and can take many different forms. The form Golden State has chosen to take is trading Monta Ellis, which combined with all these injuries might allow them to, if they balls bounce their way in the lottery, land a top pick this June.
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 recent trades, needs to hit deep shots to win. If they want to do so Sunday, they will have to make plenty of 3s.