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Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Preview

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Western Conference Finals - Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Golden State Warriors (2-2) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2)

Tonight the Portland Trail Blazers play the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center in San Francisco for their first of three meetings this season. The Blazers will look to bounce back from a blowout loss on Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors will be looking to win their third straight game after dropping their first two.

Friday January 1 - 7:30 p.m. PT
How To Watch: NBCSNW, NBA TV, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*
Blazers Injuries: Zach Collins (out), Gary Trent Jr (game time decision)
Warriors Injuries: Klay Thompson (out), Marquese Chriss (out), Alen Samailagic (out), Eric Paschall (game time decision), Draymond Green (game time decision)
SBN Affiliate: Golden State of Mind
*Blazer’s Edge receives a commission when you subscribe through these links.

What To Watch For

  • Battle of the point guards. Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry are two of the best point guards in the league and this game could very well be decided by the winner of the point guard match up. Damian Lillard is averaging 23 points per game so far this season whereas Stephen Curry is averaging 26.5. Both Lillard and Curry have the ability to score at a much higher clip than they have shown so far this season and a breakout scoring performance seems likely in the near future for both superstars.
  • Bench scoring. The bench scoring for both teams has been in the top half of the league so far with the Warriors’ and Blazers’ benches being ranked 10th and 13th in bench scoring this year respectively. However, the Blazers could be missing the 13 points per game that Gary Trent Jr. has provided for them for the second straight game. The scoring provided by players such as Gary Trent Jr., Carmelo Anthony, and Damion Lee could swing the game in their team’s favor off of the bench.
  • Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic looks to have a good match up against a Warriors team lacking depth in their frontcourt as they are down Marquese Chriss and they could be missing Draymond Green and Eric Paschall as well. Kevon Looney and James Wiseman will be the primary defenders on Nurkic, both of whom have defensive limitations. With this lack of an elite defender around the basket, Nurkic could have a dominant game in the paint. Wiseman, the starting center for the Warriors, can also be exposed in the pick and roll game, opening up another way for Nurkic to be an offensive difference maker.

What Others Are Saying

Brady Klopfer of Golden State of Mind talked about the early struggles of the Warriors offense and how the Warriors starters have begun to figure out how to play together more effectively.

Golden State outscored Detroit by 19 points in Wiggins’ minutes (compared to just by three in Curry’s), and his 17-point fourth quarter was the pivotal performance in the game, as the Dubs stretched a one-point lead after three quarters into a double-digit cushion.

Kelly Oubre Jr. continued to be a pest on defense (and made some shots!), leading the mind to wonder what this defense can look like when Draymond Green returns.

James Wiseman showed that he can turn defense into offense all by his lonesome; given that the Warriors absolutely need to get stops that lead to transition buckets this year, that will prove to be of great value, even if it won’t always be this pretty and emphatic.

Warriors.com’s game preview focused on the importance of Andrew Wiggins to the success of the Warriors’ offense so far this season.

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins is coming off his best stretch as a Warrior, finishing with 27 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists in Tuesday night’s matchup. Wiggins finished strong in the victory, scoring 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. “He was phenomenal,” Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr shared. “He just took over the game.” In addition to a strong offensive performance — he’s averaged 23 points while shooting 64 percent on threes over the last two games — he ranks second on the team in both rebounds and blocks. Wiggins getting it done on both ends of the floor will be a huge contributor for a Warriors team looking to get back to the postseason.