Trail Blazers-Warriors Preview
While the Portland Trail Blazers are off to their best start in 14 years, they'll have to pick up a rare win in the Bay Area to extend their winning streak.
They could get a little help if both Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala can't play for the Golden State Warriors.
The surprising Trail Blazers seek their 10th straight victory Saturday night while also looking to avoid a 15th loss in their last 17 games at Golden State.
After going 4-0 on its eastern trip, Portland (11-2) returned home and continued to roll Friday, rallying from a 21-point deficit for a 98-95 victory over Chicago.
Wesley Matthews had a season-high 28 points and Damian Lillard added 20 to help the Blazers run their win streak to nine - their longest since a 13-game run Dec. 3-30, 2007.
"We didn't change any schemes," coach Terry Stotts said. "We just played harder, played better, played with more focus, more intensity, more attitude."
Portland hasn't dropped a road game since a season-opening 104-91 loss at Phoenix, winning its last six by an average of 11.0 points. The Blazers have averaged 105.8 points and posted a plus-6.0 rebounding margin during that road streak.
It's been a much different story, however, in Oakland, where the Northwest Division leaders have averaged 94.7 points while dropping 14 of 16.
In their most recent visit on March 30, Curry poured in 39 points and hit 7 of 12 from 3-point range to lead the Warriors to a 125-98 win.
Curry, though, is expected to be a game-time decision after missing Friday's 102-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers because of what the team called a "mild concussion." The Warriors will likely be without Iguodala, who left the game with a hamstring injury.
"Once I heard a pop, I knew it was serious," said Iguodala, who added that he'll have an MRI on Saturday.
The Warriors (8-5) have averaged 107.3 points and are 8-2 with Curry (19.9 ppg), but they've scored just 83.3 in three losses without him.
Following a season-high four-game winning streak, the Warriors have dropped back-to-back contests despite Harrison Barnes filling in nicely for Curry in the lineup. Barnes has totaled 36 points on 15-of-27 shooting in the two contests.
"We're a no-excuse basketball team, and it's just disappointing right now," coach Mark Jackson said. "We cannot walk away with a good taste with how we played and the effort we put forth."
Klay Thompson, the team's leading scorer at 20.5 per game, also should be able to help pick up the offense. He's averaged 25.3 points on 63.4 percent shooting - including 23 of 43 from 3-point range - in six home games.
The Warriors, who have allowed 91.3 points and a 42.7 field-goal percentage over their last four overall, will have to figure out a way to contain Portland's Big Three of Matthews, Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Lillard, the 2012-13 rookie of the year, had one of his best games at Golden State on Jan. 11, scoring 37 points and hitting 7 of 12 from beyond the arc in a 103-97 loss.
Aldridge, leading Portland with 21.7 points per game, will try to bounce back after matching a season low with 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting against the Bulls.
Although he's averaged 25.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting in six road games this season, Aldridge has scored just 13.6 while shooting 37.5 percent in nine career games in Oakland.
The Blazers, off to their best start since opening 13-2 in 1999-2000, will try to avoid their fourth straight loss to the Warriors.