Back from perfect trip, Warriors host Trail Blazers
OAKLAND, Calif. — After getting outgunned at home by the top team in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers tip off a five-game trip against the West’s second-best when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
In the Warriors, the Trail Blazers will encounter a team just home after a historic road trip of its own.
Golden State went 6-0 on the 10-day journey, becoming just the ninth team in NBA history to have a perfect six-game trip.
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The Warriors have played 10 of their past 13 games on the road, squeezing a four-day, three-game homestand between four- and six-game trips.
Golden State and the Orlando Magic are tied for the NBA lead in road games played with 16.
Now the Warriors will play nine of their next 10 games at home. Being that the only road game in the stretch is against the Los Angeles Lakers, they will not leave the state of California again until Jan. 3.
“That’s beautiful,” Golden State forward Draymond Green said of the upcoming schedule. “We earned ourself this homestand. We have to continue to allow ourselves some more practice time, which is what I think we need. We’ll continue to get better.”
The last time the Warriors played at home, they were beaten 110-106 by the Sacramento Kings. Golden State played without Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant that night.
Curry will be missing again Monday, but for a different reason. His bruised thigh has healed, but he sustained a sprained ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans.
The Warriors said at the time he would be out a minimum of two weeks, after which he would be re-evaluated.
Golden State won its last two games of the trip without Curry, thanks in large part to Durant, who totaled 71 points, 21 rebounds, 17 assists and seven blocked shots in the victories at Charlotte and Detroit.
The Trail Blazers know all about one-man wrecking crews. They were overpowered by James Harden’s 48 points in a 124-117 loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
Damian Lillard countered with 35 points in a prelim for his twice-a-season Oakland homecoming.
Lillard has scored at least 16 points in all eight previous returns to Oakland, with high games of 37 and 38. However, Portland lost seven of the eight games.
The Trail Blazers are taking to the road on the heels of a winless four-game homestand during which they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards before Houston.
“I’m always excited about a challenge,” Lillard said of facing the defending champions. “It was a disappointing homestand. You want to win at least two or three of them.
“But I feel like we’re in a good place as a group mentally. On the last road trip, we went 4-1 and didn’t play great. (Saturday) we played a good game. We turned it in the right direction. Hopefully we can play better on this trip.”
The Warriors have beaten the Trail Blazers in six consecutive meetings and 10 of 11 over the past three seasons.