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Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers Preview

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. TV: KGW and ESPN

The Golden State Warriors have had a rough time in the last month. Either that or the Golden State Warriors have been celebrating Tanksgiving for the last four weeks. Take your pick. Since winning 3 straight in mid-March the Warriors have gone 4-13. In their defense the schedule has been unkind to them. They've played New Orleans twice, Sacramento and New Jersey once each. Those are the only truly bad opponents they've faced. Everyone else has been either playoff-bound or at least better than the Warriors are destined to be this season. But 4-13 is ugly no matter what the lineup. And so are the Warriors.

The trade-deadline departure of Monta Ellis blew a hole in the side of the ship as far as scoring. Stephen Curry going down at nearly the same time blew a hole in the other side. Starting the season with 2 high-output point producers in the backcourt and suddenly finding yourself with zero will ruin anyone's day. While Golden State's offensive output nosedived their defense remained about the same, which is not a compliment. The result was other teams topping 100 with regularity while the Warriors struggled to get into the mid-90's. You could tell which way the wind was blowing when the Blazers beat the Warriors on March 25th despite playing a slow, outside-oriented game featuring just 12 shots for LaMarcus Aldridge. Luke Babbitt and Raymond Felton were enough to secure the win for Portland on that night. That's not a good sign.

The Warriors are now milking offense out of anybody willing to hoist the ball. Power forward David Lee is still potent. San Antonio refugee Richard Jefferson seems unable to recover the scoring mojo from his Milwaukee days. though his team desperately needs it now. The two guys making hay lately are rookie shooting guard Klay Thompson and veteran point guard Nate Robinson, for whom shooting is second nature. After that you're praying that guys like Jeremy Tyler and Brandon Rush get hot. It can happen, but most of the time it won' least not enough to put the Warriors over the top.

The Warriors don't score in the paint much and aren't subtle in their desires. They want to break. If they can't get that, they'll take an open jumper no matter how deep. They shoot and allow a high percentage. They don't rebound well. They'll try to turn you over, play opportunistic defense. Most of the time opportunistic = bad. They're like a guy rushing at you with a big machete. If you just stand there and let him whack at you exactly like he wants to he's going to do damage. Stupid you. Sidestep and he'll fall flat on his face on the follow-through.

Of course now we have to talk about the Blazers. They'll probably be without LaMarcus Aldridge. They'll likely be without Nicolas Batum as well, the way the wind is blowing. What does that leave? J.J. Hickson, Luke Babbitt, and a bunch of guards who also want to fire any chance they get. Et tu Jamal Crawford?

That makes expectations for this game rather...low. It's likely to devolve into your typical YMCA-league matchup, just with bigger, faster guys making millions of dollars. Which B-grade lineup will take advantage of the other? Will anybody defend? How many ungodly-looking jumpers will we see in this game? Should the teams just let Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson go one-on-one for 48 minutes and award the victory accordingly?

I vote for the latter.

Golden State Of Mind will let you know how the Warriors are doing.

Your Jersey Contest form.

--Dave (