The 2012-13 pre-season version of the Portland Trail Blazers take the court once again tonight, this time facing the Golden State Warriors. The game begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be featured on CSNNW locally and NBA TV nationally.
The W's have been amassing W's in pre-season, carrying a 4-1 record into this game. Most nights their recipe is simple: ride Steph Curry, David Lee, and Klay Thompson to a scoring spree, letting everybody else draft in their wake. Veteran Carl Landry has been the best of the rest on a roster that includes former Blazer Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, and rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. Naturally the Warriors are awaiting the return of center Andrew Bogut, but that'll be a while.
Here's what to watch tonight:
1. The Warriors are an interesting matchup because they can match the Blazers' three-point accuracy (if not their proliferation) but can also score big in the paint. The Blazers can live with, and might even encourage, the first. Stopping the second will be a challenge.
2. Curry and Thompson are a talented backcourt duo. Warriors fans have hopes just as high as Blazers fans have for Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews. The difference at this point is that Curry and Thompson can bring it almost every night. Matthews can't guard both of them. Will Lillard (providing he plays) be able to guard his matchup at all and will Portland's backcourt tandem be able to approach the level of scoring of their counterparts?
3. You know you want to see Wednesday night's heroes, Coby Karl and Victor Claver. Can they do it twice in a row?
4. This will be an interesting game for Meyers Leonard and J.J. Hickson both. Golden State will play converted power forwards in the middle. They'll have skill and, in Landry's case, plenty of mean, but shouldn't dominate physically. What will Portland's would-be pivots be able to do?
5. With but three games remaining (including this one) before the regular season commences, the coaching staff should be thinking about getting their rotation in a groove. Everybody in serious contention for a roster spot has had a chance to distinguish themselves this pre-season. Few actually accomplished that feat, at least not for long. How much more do the deeper bench players have left to show? If this is the night where eventual starters and key bench personnel get most of the minutes, watch who doesn't play. That'll tip us off to the shape of the roster come Halloween.
Check out GoldenStateofMind if you've a mind to. We'll be here an hour before tip-off with the GameDay discussion thread. We'll have plenty of analysis afterwards as well.