Trail Blazers-Warriors Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers are quickly shaking off some recent struggles, thanks in part to the compressed NBA schedule.
Going back on the road may hamper their new-found momentum, and visits to the Golden State Warriors tend to do just that.
The Trail Blazers look to sweep a set of three games in three days while trying to beat the Warriors on the road for just the second time in nearly seven years Wednesday night.
Portland (11-7) swept a brief two-game homestand, beating Sacramento 101-89 on Monday before a 97-84 victory over Memphis the following night. Those wins came after a 2-5 stretch.
"We're still working on our rhythm," coach Nate McMillan told the team's official website. "We're still working on execution. What I do see is guys challenging each other. When we're not doing what we're supposed to do, I'm hearing them talk to each other, challenge each other."
The Trail Blazers have a tough challenge ahead as they try to win three games in three days for the first time since 1999.
Portland is 3-6 on the road this season, scoring 90.4 points per contest. The team has also dropped 11 of the past 12 visits to Oracle Arena, with the lone victory coming on March 11, 2010.
Both visits to Golden State last season resulted in losses, including a 110-86 defeat to the Warriors (5-11) in the most recent matchup April 13.
LaMarcus Aldridge hasn't been at his best in his last seven trips to Oakland, averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds while connecting on 39.2 percent from the field.
The forward-center enters this matchup looking for another strong performance after making 8 of 13 shots to finish with 23 points and six rebounds against the Grizzlies. He's averaged 25.2 points and 10.7 rebounds over the last six road games.
Golden State will try to continue its home dominance of the Trail Blazers and avoid a fourth straight loss overall. The Warriors have kept games close during the three-game skid, getting outscored by 3.6 points.
Although another close loss was the result, the Warriors can't take any positives away from their last game. They blew a 20-point, second-half lead and were outscored 39-22 in the fourth quarter of Monday's 91-90 loss to the Grizzlies.
"At the start of that fourth quarter, we could have knocked them out," coach Mark Jackson said. "They would have been ready to surrender. We didn't when we had a chance to. They got underneath our skin and we didn't respond."
Monta Ellis is averaging 25.0 points while hitting 57.7 percent from the field over the last three games. He leads the Warriors in scoring (23.1 points per game) and assists (6.9), and is averaging 32.3 points in his last four meetings with the Blazers - three ending in Golden State victories.
Stephen Curry has also had success versus the Trail Blazers, averaging 23.0 points in his last four meetings. That includes a career-high 42 points in a 122-116 road win on April 14, 2010.
The guard has totaled 30 points over the last two games after sitting out eight with an ankle injury.