Damian Lillard’s homecoming Part II
The Portland Trail Blazers might not want to admit it, but their season is quickly heading in the wrong direction.
Matchup: Portland (33-39) @ Golden State Warriors (41-32)
Venue: ORACLE Arena
Time: 7:30 PM PT
Date: Saturday, March 30, 2013
The team is coming off back-to-back double-digit losses at home, and a visit to the Golden State Warriors won’t make things any easier.
Game Notes/How They Match Up
At this point in the year, we can assume that the Warriors are in and the Blazers are out when it comes to the playoffs. Both teams have exceeded expectations during the season, but it’s clear that Golden State is on a different level at this juncture.
The Warriors are coming off a loss to the Sacramento Kings, so you know they’re beatable, but it’s going to take quick buckets and good defense to take them down at home.
What to Watch: Portland
“We get down like a young team and come back like vets. It’s a weird dynamic.” — Wesley Matthews
— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) January 30, 2013
Wesley Matthews may have had the quote of the season when he said, “We get down like a young team and come back like vets.” That statement may be true, but it’s no way for a rebuilding roster to make life easy on themselves game after game.
The last time Portland traveled down to Oakland, it entered the fourth quarter down 78-63. The team was outscored 19-28 in the first quarter alone, and it took a huge fourth quarter to even make the game a contest.
The Blazers recently fell into a hole early against the Brooklyn Nets, but instead of a miracle comeback, we saw the team fall in one of its most embarrassing losses of the season.
As the year has progressed, we’ve watched this team grow, but that doesn’t mean its capable of storming back every single outing. The Blazers have to establish momentum early on the road; unless, of course, they’re willing to put all their eggs in the Damian Lillard basket like they did the last time around.
What to Watch: Golden State
When you play the Warriors, you have to attempt to control the pace. This team will run you out of the gym if you let them, so slowing down when it’s appropriate has to be somewhere in the game plan for Portland.
The Warriors are the kind of team that will use its entire lineup in transition. Andrew Bogut isn’t exactly an up-tempo center, but he’s someone the team still looks for out on the fast break. Then, from David Lee down to Steph Curry, the entire team is capable of playing quickly.
If the Blazers can slow them down, it will take them out of their element. If they can’t, they’ll have to play just as quickly and hope that Golden State’s defense breaks down.
Damian Lillard and Steph Curry have both shown that they can get hot quickly. Lillard did it to Golden State earlier in the year, and Curry has done it on too many occasions to count.
Neither of these players are All-Stars, but they’ll both be competing for spots in upcoming years. Their styles of play are fun to watch, and they’re capable of carrying their respective teams on any given night.
The two guards know how to score, and they should provide a ton of entertainment Saturday night.
Portland: OUT—LaMarcus Aldridge
Until Portland can prove itself late in the year, it’s tough the trust the team at this stage in the season.