The Portland Trail Blazers finish up their latest road trip with a visit to San Francisco to play the Golden State Warriors tonight. The Blazers have much to regret about their 118-113 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday. A poor first half was followed by a spirited comeback, but lack of execution in overtime combined with some frustrating whistles that didn’t go their way added up to defeat. A victory today would put any bad thoughts in their rear view mirror and would give the Blazers a winning road trip.
The Warriors started out the season winning five out of their first six games, but since then it’s been rough sailing. They’ve already had a six-game losing streak this season. They haven’t won two games in a row in over a month. Most recently Golden State split a two game home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Clippers, winning at home and losing on the road.
Portland Trail Blazers (6-13) vs. Golden State Warriors (9-11) - Wednesday. Dec. 6 - 7:00 p.m. Pacific
How to watch on TV: Root Sports, NBA League Pass
Trail Blazers injuries: Robert Williams III (out), Ish Wainright (out), Jerami Grant (out), Deandre Ayton (doubtful), Anfernee Simons (questionable)
Warriors injuries: Gary Payton II (out), Usman Garuba (out), Chris Paul (probable), Andrew Wiggins (probable)
SBNation Affiliate: Golden State of Mind
Blazer’s Edge Reader Questions
Frequest contributor azblaze:
Is Klay really washed? All the talk is how they need to bench Klay and play Moody and Podz more, but I find it hard to believe. Would anyone be surprised if Klay hit 6 threes in a quarter?
Klay Thompson has been kind of hard to watch this year. He just isn’t playing at the level we are so used to seeing. His numbers definitely do show a decline, falling to 15.7 points per game compared to 21.9 point per game for example. His three point and field goal percentages are down, and he just isn’t passing the eye test. Has father time caught up with him? So far Steve Kerr doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to give up on Klay. Two things though might conspire to see Kerr take away more minutes from Thompson or even send him to the bench. First, there isn’t much point in tanking, so if Klay can’t get the job done they really do need to look for alternatives. Steph Curry’s window is shrinking and a certain team in the Pacific Northwest is in possession of their pick unless they really tank and have lottery luck, so there isn’t any incentive to be bad. If the wins don’t start coming more frequently, Kerr might feel he has to make a change to try to save the season. Second, 21 year old Moses Moody might force the issue. He’s playing well and is growing in confidence. At some point Kerr might not be able to justify playing Klay over Moses. Some would argue we are already past that point.
As president of the “In Hindsight, I May Have Read Too Much Into That One Game” club, I’m curious how much you think the club should read into the game tomorrow?
Seems like a perfect game to conclude the Dubs dynasty is over.
If the Blazers win it would be hard to not read too much into it, especially in terms of Golden State. Injuries are likely to be a big factor for the Blazers with Grant out and Ayton doubtful. Simons may well be back but one could imagine a minutes restriction. Golden State will certainly be without Gary Payton II, but that will probably be reality for the Warriors for a significant amount of time. Otherwise they should be fairly close to full strength, albeit with Wiggins and Paul coming off of injuries. Draymond and Klay are healthy as far as well know, but they are probably the biggest question marks in terms of who might not be producing at the level required. If the Warriors can’t impose their will with Draymond in and Grant and Ayton likely unavailable, that’s a very bad sign for them. While it’s fun to root against Golden State, especially as we hold their draft pick, we do have to keep in mind three things. First, it’s barely December. Second, it’s not like the West so far is setting the bar all that high to make the play-in. Third, it’s hard to imagine that the Warriors won’t find a way to substantially strengthen before the trade deadline. Regardless of the outcome on Wednesday we certainly can’t write off the Warriors completely, as tempting as that might be.
What To Watch For
- Draymond Green. Like with Klay, Draymond is getting a lot of attention as Golden State has sputtered so far this season. Some of his stats are certainly down. For example his field goal percentage is currently .490 compared to .612 last season. A bigger question though is his discipline. His five game suspension for his part in an incident against Minnesota is obviously the prime example, but it’s not just that. He’s already been ejected twice (his record is three times in a season) and he’s on pace to tie or exceed his highest technical total. When the team is winning it’s easier to overlook Draymond's discipline issues. At the moment it’s drawing attention. Will teams start working intentionally to try to get under his skin? It’s possible. Golden State relies on Draymond more than perhaps he’s given credit for. If the Warriors are to have any hopes this season they need Draymond to be more disciplined so he can stay on the court.
What Others Are Saying
Brady Klopfer of Golden State of Mind notes that Moses Moody is playing well but is a bit lighter in the wallet.
It’s been an excellent week for Golden State Warriors guard Moses Moody. But it’s been a less excellent week for Moody’s bank account. Following the Warriors latest heartbreaking, lead-blowing loss — this time 113-112 to the LA Clippers on Saturday — the league announced that Moody was fined for a flop.
Does a poor start means big changes by the Bay? Jannelle Moore of the East Bays Times says don’t count on it.
It doesn’t matter that the team is 9-11 after blowing leads of 24 and 22 points in two losses last week. It doesn’t matter that other teams are younger and more athletic and that the league has caught up with the Warriors’ style of play. The rippling noise about benching veterans, or trading them, to make room for younger players is irrelevant. Kerr is rolling with his core, no matter what.
Justin Verrier, Wosny Lambre, and Rob Mahoney of The Ringer discuss what’s wrong with the Warriors.