Portland Trailblazers at Golden State Warriors Preview
The Portland Trailblazers will travel to play the Golden State Warriors for the first time this season. Both teams have gone through some changes to personnel since the Warriors swept the Blazers during last years’ Western Conference Finals. The Warriors come into the matchup at 1-5, which puts them dead last in the West. Their last game, a 93-87 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday is just a microcosm into how poorly their season has started so far.
The Blazers are trying to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. The Sixers won off of a game-winning 3-pointer by Furkan Korkmaz. Damian Lillard and company are off to a decent start; they are 3-3 and ninth in the conference. The unfortunate thing is that remaining a .500 team the rest of the way won’t be enough to crack the playoffs. The Warriors are now the ones other franchises look to stack easy wins against so it serves the Blazers right to go into San Francisco and leave with a win.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Trailblazers: Zach Collins (O), Paul Gasol (O), Jusuf Nurkic’ (O), Hassan Whiteside (Q)
Warriors: Stephen Curry (O), Jacob Evans (O), Draymond Green (Q), Kevon Looney (O), D’Angelo Russell (Q), Alen Smailagic (O), Klay Thompson (O)
Portland Trailblazers Starting Lineup
The Blazers are probably going into this game with the intention of blowing out the Warriors. It would be a good way to direct frustration after being outscored 37-26 in the fourth quarter of their loss to the 76ers.
Damian Lillard–who scored 33 points to go with nine assists in the game expressed frustration over the loss, “we played such a great game and they just chipped away, got back into it and we let one slip,” Lillard said. “I think the way we lost sucks. Any time anybody hits a last-second shot, and puts you up against the clock, it’s a bad feeling.”
The Blazers led by as many as 21 but they lost the rebound, assist, steal, turnover and block battle. For the season they have the no. 9 offense in the league but only the no. 17 defense. They have dealt with frequent injuries to their frontcourt with Zach Collins and Hassan Whiteside missing time so the defense has understandably suffered. Their shooting numbers have been very strong–47 percent from the field (fifth in the league) and 40 percent on 3s (second in the league).
The seasoned backcourt of Lillard and CJ McCollum has played well. The two are combining to average over 50 points per game and 11 assists. The duo carrying the bulk of the offense is nothing new in Portland. The discussion has always centered on who steps up as that third option. Before suffering a broken leg it was Jusuf Nurkic’. So far this season, Rodney Hood has slid into that role. Hood is averaging 14 points on unsustainable shooting efficiency (53 percent from the field and 52 percent on 3-pointers).
Considering the Blazers offense has been their bread and butter this season I expect they will have no problem racking up the points in this one.
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup
Another week another injury to one of the prominent players on the roster. After losing Stephen Curry to a broken hand the Warriors have been without Draymond Green due to a left index finger injury and D’Angelo Russell is day-to-day with an ankle injury.
After years of being the boogeyman for the entire league, Golden State is now rolling into every game as the prey. Their second-round pick Eric Paschall was their leading scorer in their game against the Hornets. He scored 25 points and grabbed four rebounds. In an era where teams routinely score well over 100 points, the Warriors held the Hornets to 93 points and still lost.
The Warriors continue to occupy the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency and allow teams to shoot 38 percent from the 3-point line against them (28th in the NBA). Maybe if their offense was better the struggles on defense wouldn’t mean as much, but they are equally as lousy on that end.
The silver lining for the future? The young guys can play and gain valuable NBA experience while stacking up the losses which help the teams’ draft lottery odds. The silver lining for the present? Hope the Blazers show a sliver of mercy.
Key Player Matchups
Damian Lillard vs. D’Angelo Russell
Here’s to hoping Russell plays, because if he doesn’t it will be very hard to find a compelling matchup. Russell was having his best game of the season on Friday against the Spurs before spraining his ankle. He scored 30 points in 33 minutes but struggled with his efficiency. He’s only shooting 38 percent from the field on the season and 31 percent on his 3s. My bet is Dlo will snap out of it if he plays tonight. Lillard has done his work like he has done for the majority of his career, under the radar. He’s averaging a shade under 30 points per game (29.8) while averaging 7.8 assists, which would be a career-high. He’ll have a field day regardless of who lines up to guard him tonight.
Hassan Whiteside vs. Willie Cauley-Stein
Battle of the rim-running, pick-and-roll, lob-finishing big men. If Hassan Whiteside is healthy enough to suit up he’ll have his hands full with Willie Cauley-Stein. WCS is still working his way into shape, but he’s an active player who is averaging 18 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes. The sample size has been small for Cauley-Stein but as his minutes increase, so will his raw stats.
Damian Lillard is your prized-pickup from this matchup. The expectation is that Lillard will rack up points in a possible blowout win against the worst defensive team in the league. He’s available for $10.3k on FanDuel with his projected fantasy points set at 46.8. D’Angelo Russell comes in as the other star fantasy pickup. He’s available for $9.4k on FanDuel with projected fantasy points set at 35.5.
If you’re looking for some value pickups: Eric Paschall, Willie Cauley-Stein and Rodney Hood are each available for under $6k. Paschall is set at $5.8k and is projected to score 24.8 fantasy points. Cauley-Stein is available for $4.9k on FandDuel and Hood is available for $4.3k.
Bet on Matchup
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