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Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Preview

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The Blazers hope to end their 6-game road trip with a win in Golden State.

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NBA: Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (12-6) vs. Golden State Warriors (12-7)

Friday, November 22 - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Seth Curry (probable), Moe Harkless (probable)
Warriors injuries: Stephen Curry (out), Draymond Green (questionable), Alfonzo McKinnie (questionable)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Golden State of Mind

The Portland Tail Blazers visit the Golden State Warriors in a matchup of the Western Conference’s 2 and 5 seeds. In a surprising twist, however, it’s the Blazers that are the 2-seed while the struggling Warriors are 5th in the West. Of course, though, only 2.5 games separate the first and tenth place teams in a crowded Western Conference.

Everyone may be full from Thanksgiving meals, but the Warriors will be hungry for a win. They have lost four in row for the first time in the Steve Kerr era and have only won twice (against the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks) in their last eight games after starting the season 10-1.

The game is the final one of Portland’s 6-game road trip. The Blazers hope to finish the trip with a .500 record after going 2-3 in the first five games.

What to watch for

  • Will Golden State’s offense get back track? A devastatingly efficient offense has been a staple of the Warriors the past few seasons. Overall for the season they are still one of the top teams in offensive rating, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage. However, their offense has been uncharacteristically anemic in recent games. They are the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA over the past four games, hitting only 6.3 of 26.5 attempts. Steph Curry has missed the last seven games, and Draymond Green has been out for six of the past eight. Still, any team that has Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring.
  • Will Portland’s defense get back on track? The Blazers’ normally solid defense has struggled during this road trip. They’ve given up 120.8 points per game on the trip and have the second worst defensive rating over that span. Opponents are shooting 41 percent from three, knocking in 13.6 of 33.2 attempts during the last five games.
  • Who will step up? Last season’s Warriors-Blazers matchups included some incredible individual performances. Portland won 2 of 3 against Golden State with both wins coming in the Moda Center. Kevin Durant went for 28, 50, and 40 points in the three games. Lillard also stepped up in these matchups, putting in 39, 44, and 28. McCollum also performed well, scoring 21, 29, and 30. With both teams struggling lately a big performance by one of the stars could go a long way toward a win.

What they’re saying

Dieter Kurtenbach of The Mercury News argues that Golden State’s recent problems can be attributed to their injuries:

Without [Curry], the offense is clunky, rhythmless, and devoid of pace. It’s chock-full Kevin Durant post-ups, Klay Thompson mid-range shots, and a bunch of guys standing around waiting for something to happen.

It’s bad basketball that doesn’t deserve to be rewarded with wins. So far, in seven games without Curry, it’s only found two — wins over the Nets and Hawks.

Not having Green compounds the Warriors’ problems, too — while the Warriors’ 2002-vintage offense has been impossible to ignore, the defense has been poor over the last week, posting a 115.2 rating. The Warriors are fourth-worst in defensive rebound percentage (accounting for 19 second-chance points per game, second-worst in the league over the last week) and last in the NBA in steals.

You know who is good at rebounding, steals, and generally transcendent and omnipresent defensive play (as well as pushing the pace and playmaking on offense)? Green.

He’ll come back soon, too.

With Curry and Green, the Warriors should go back to being the league-ruiners they so recently were.

SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck wrote before their loss to OKC that the Warriors are in crisis:

In this span, the Warriors have been incredibly un-Warriors-like. The ball has stopped moving, shots are bricking, and the team’s fluidity is non-existent. The proof is in the numbers.

In the team’s first 11 games of the season: 123.5 points per game, 47 rebounds, 30.5 assists, 7.8 steals, and 42.3 percent from three on 31.4 attempts

In the team’s last seven games: 105.7 points per game, 43.6 rebounds, 25 assists, 6.1 steals, and 33 percent from three on just 25.6 attempts

Durant feels it, too.

“I mean ... we just trying to get good looks,” Durant said, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “I know Warriors basketball is 5, 6, 7 passes in a possession, but we not going to get that at this point. We throw it five or six times and itAs going to end up in a guy’s hands who is trying to give it back to somebody else. We don’t want to just make passes to make passes because it’ll look good on the stat sheet. We trying to find a good shot every time down. Some time it might be a quick shot.”

Joe Viray of Golden State of Mind wrote about the Warriors’ lack of depth after their loss to the Thunder:

With the supporting cast providing little to no assistance against the Thunder, the Warriors’ motto of Strength in Numbers became a toothless declaration, with a meaning that weighs as much as a bird’s feather. With nothing to energize the team, they are playing at what seems like a lethargic pace — and the numbers support it. During their seven games without Curry, the Warriors have played at a pace of 97.5, per NBA.com, which would place them at 28th in the league, just ahead of the Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies.

The injuries to Curry and Green have also had profound effects on the rotation that the Warriors have had to send out. With a healthy team, the Warriors could afford to have two of their All-Stars on the floor at a time. But being relegated to having two All-Stars has forced the Warriors to stagger their minutes.