Viewers' Guide: Warriors face Blazers on NBA TV
Warriors vs Trail Blazers (9:00 ET, NBA TV)
Last week we learned the Warriors would have four representatives in the upcoming All-Star Game, the most since the Atlanta Hawks in 2015. The addition of Kevin Durant to their already potent core has been relatively seamless, as the Warriors are off to a fast 40-7 start. The Blazers, meanwhile, just haven’t been able to get on track, and are currently on the outside looking in on the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The Warriors enter tonight’s game on the heels of arguably their best performance of the season. Last night, Golden State crushed the Los Angeles Clippers, 144-98, behind 43 points from reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Golden State may not be on track to top last year’s historic 73-9 record, but they’ve won 9 of their last 10 and 21 of their last 24 games.
Blazers finding the Trail?
Portland finished last season 44-38, fifth-best in the Western Conference. Despite the offseason addition of Evan Turner, the Blazers have struggled this season, including a recent stretch where they lost four straight. But coming into this game, the Blazers have won three in a row, with three home games upcoming. Perhaps they can finally establish some consistency.
The Warriors and Blazers have already faced each other three times this season, and the results haven’t been pretty for Portland: Golden State is 3-0 against the Trail Blazers, and they’ve averaged 129 points per matchup, the most they’ve averaged against any team this season other than Indiana. In particular, Durant (28.3 ppg) and Curry (27 ppg) have shined against Portland.
The most easily identifiable marker of Portland’s troubles this season has been their defense. Last season they finished 20th in defensive rating (105.6), but were good enough to make some noise in the playoffs. Thus far this season, the Blazers are averaging a 108.8 defensive rating, 26th in the NBA. By contrast, the Warriors sport a league-best 101 defensive rating.
Coverage begins on NBA TV with the Autotrader Pregame Show at 5:30 ET, followed by Wizards vs. Pelicans at 6 ET