May 28, 2024

When the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers square off for the first of three meetings in 18 days on Wednesday night in San Francisco, they will have a chance to get to know one another well.

This season, the West Coast rivals were only supposed to square off three times—once in San Francisco. However, this week’s regular-season schedule changes were brought about by the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament, since all of the teams eliminated in the group stage had to play games on Wednesday and Friday.

The Warriors have dominated the Trail Blazers in recent years, taking home victories in five of the last three seasons and six of the last seven during the previous two. The margin of victory for the home team has averaged 12.8 points.

When the teams last played in April of last year, the Warriors thrashed Portland 157-101, scoring 55 points in the first quarter. At the time, Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons, and Damian Lillard were not with the Trail Blazers.

In the rematch eight months later, all three might be absent once more. The Milwaukee Bucks acquired Lillard; Simons sustained ligament damage to his right thumb during the preseason and has not yet participated in any games this year; and Grant has been placed in the concussion protocol following a blow to the head on Saturday during a game against the Utah Jazz.

Simons and Grant are regarded as dubious at best for the trip to Golden State, but they might return by Friday.

After observing Simons during practice this week, Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups is still optimistic about seeing Simons in action in San Francisco.

“Stuff like that, the proper protocol is what I have to follow,” he replied. His conditioning appears to be quite good. It makes me feel good. However, we’ll see.”

While traveling to Milwaukee, Indiana, Cleveland, and Utah, Portland narrowly missed winning 3-1 as they fell to the Jazz 118-113 in overtime. Before Shaedon Sharpe shocked the Cavaliers with a 29-point, 10-rebound double-double, the team defeated the Pacers 114-110 behind Grant’s 34 points.

Malcolm Brogdon will play for the Trail Blazers for the first time, for the Warriors.

When Portland traded Jrue Holiday to Boston during the offseason after acquiring him in the Lillard trade, Brogdon became part of the deal. After doing so a total of 24 times for the Celtics the previous season, he has comfortably adapted to his new surroundings, scoring at least 18 points 11 times thus far.

Despite finishing last in the Pacific Division, the Warriors have played some of their best basketball of the year in the last four games. If not for late heroics by Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers in a 113-112 victory and Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings in a 124-123 victory, Golden State would have gone 4-0 during that stretch.

The recent performances of two veterans who had trouble early on—Andrew Wiggins, who scored 29 points in the Warriors game, and Klay Thompson, who has averaged 19.5 points in his last six games—have inspired Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

“This season is about winning a championship,” Kerr stated. “That means … I’m going to lean into our starters, I’m going to lean into our key guys, and I’m going to give them all the space they need to find their rhythm.”

For Portland, the Warriors are hoping to have Wiggins return. After using his right index finger to close his car door, he has missed Golden State’s last two games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *