Portland Trail Blazers (33-23) vs. Golden State Warriors (41-15)
Wednesday, February 13th - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: None
Warriors injuries: Jacob Evans (out), Damian Jones (out), Andre Iguodala (questionable), DeMarcus Cousins (out), Shaun Livingston (out), Klay Thompson (probable)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, ESPN
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Golden State of Mind
Quite a bad time for the Portland Trail Blazers to face the reigning NBA champions. The Blazers are coming off back-to-back rough defeats. A miserable fourth quarter and some missed calls sank them against the Dallas Mavericks, and an inability to stop Paul George resulted in a 120-111 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Damian Lillard continues to shoulder the load, but he will have his hands full with this opponent.
The Warriors have rallied from a relatively slow start to win 18 of their last 20 games and reclaim first place in the Western Conference. Per usual, the trio of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson are rolling through the competition. The Utah Jazz pushed them hard on Tuesday night, but the Warriors overcame them in the fourth quarter to secure a 115-108 win.
What to watch for
- George to Durant, oh my. Portland struggled to contain Paul George in their last outing versus Oklahoma City. George rocked them to the tune of 47 points and a triple-double. Kevin Durant isn’t going to make things any easier on the Portland defense. The Trail Blazers must contain Durant better than they contained George.
- Win the three-point war. Between Stephen Curry, Thompson, Lillard, and CJ McCollum, the long ball will be sailing all night through the rainy Portland sky. There are very few teams who could hope to battle the Splash Brothers in a three-point shootout. Lillard and McCollum are certainly capable. The last time these two teams met, Golden State’s pair won the battle (6-of-13 from three versus 6-of-18 from Portland), and the game. In the previous outing, Lillard and McCollum won the battle (6-of-17 versus 8-of-24), and got the victory.
- Solve the Harkless/Layman/Hood issue. Trail Blazers fans have been calling for Jake Layman to start over Mo Harkless for weeks now, and Harkless getting shredded by George did little to calm down the yells. One of the three players needs to make a statement, and who better to make it against than the reigning champs?
What they’re saying
Janelle Moore of Golden State of Mind discussed Kevin Durant’s decisions and mindset in the middle of talks over his next destination:
If not on Twitter, the writers let Durant know in their columns that just wanting to hoop and go home isn’t how things work in the hyper-intense and unforgiving world of NBA media coverage. But here’s the thing: Durant knows exactly how the NBA media machine works. Thinking otherwise is not giving him enough of credit. Durant went ‘zero dark thirty-five ‘ either for reasons no one knows or just simply he just doesn’t feel like talking, which is his right. Yet the problem with what Durant did was two-fold. One, the media was going to speculate whether he spoke or not . Two, Durant’s rant may have missed his intended mark.
Connor LeTourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle talked about Stephen Curry’s admiration for Dwyane Wade:
“It seems like he’s got a lot more in the tank,” Curry said. “That’s what I told him after the game: ‘Are you sure? I know you got a lot of stuff going on off the court with your family and stuff, but are you sure you don’t have a couple more years left in there?’”