NBA Match Preview – Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The 2015-2016 NBA season has been one dominated by the Golden State Warriors. With Stephen Curry and company off to the best start in the history of the league, teams are coming out of the all-star break looking to knock them off of their perch and prove themselves as threats to prevent the Warriors from repeating as champions when the playoffs roll around. The first team with an opportunity to do that after the all-star break is the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland comes into Friday night’s matchup with the Warriors on rock solid form, winning 8 of their last 10 games to get back to a .500 win percentage at 27 wins and 27 losses. The Trail Blazers are in the middle of the pack in both scoring and scoring defense, but have one unique facet to their game that could see them hang with the Warriors at home in this game.
That facet is the young guards of the Trail Blazers, Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum, both of whom are talented enough and speedy enough to chase Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry around for a full 48 minutes. Not many teams boast guards of that caliber who can match up with one of the best guard combinations in recent NBA history, so this has the potential to give Golden State some serious problems on both ends of the floor.
With that said, there is a huge difference between having the potential to give Golden State matchup problems on paper and actually being able to do it in the game, and not many teams have been able to execute against Golden State this season. Curry should walk to the league’s most valuable player award, and you’d be hard pressed to find a team that can compete with them in a seven game playoff series either.
Portland will have a difficult task ahead of them against Golden State on Friday night, but will have the advantage of being at home in this contest, where they are 16-11 on the season. They also have an advantage in knowing that Golden State has a massive matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, and that the Warriors may not give their full attention to the Trail Blazers. That would be a huge mistake by the Warriors given how talented Portland is, but it has the potential to make this matchup of Western Conference teams one to remember.
By: Jason M. Sanin