Preview: Trailblazers at Warriors 11-23-13

USA TODAY Sports

Portland brings a 9-game winning streak to Oracle. Beating them will be a challenge for Golden State. Update: no surgery for Andre Iguodala.

Warriors (8-5) @ TrailBlazers (11-2)

TV: CSNBA| Radio: KNBR 680

Arena: Roaracle

Tip-Off: 7:30pm PST

Blog Buddy Blazers Edge

It's a goodnews / badnews kinda day. The good news is that the sky isn't falling. The bad news is that it's already fallen.

UPDATE: Iguodala Not Having Surgery

Oh boy - the injuries have already piled up. Festus, JON, and Kuzmic. Curry and Douglas. And now Iguodala. Despite the glowing outlook for the Warriors a few weeks ago, things aren't looking all roses for the immediate future. A lot will depend on how long the Dubs key players are out, and what happens with the rest of the conference in terms of injury.

Speaking of roses, the Rose City Trailblazers bring a 9-game winning streak into Oracle tonight. In the off-season Portland added a few pieces, and they're playing very good basketball, beating Chicago at home last night. Only half a game behind the Spurs, the Blazers are the biggest surprise winners in this offseason (gotta say the Nets are the biggest surprise on the other side). Bad teams don't put together nine game winstreaks, and the Blazers are better than expected. Matchups will be key, and (sadly) bench play.

LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee usually have pretty good matchups - on a per-game basis Lee has outscored and outrebounded LMA in the 15 head to head games they've played. Wins have been a tossup between them, with LMA coming out on the winning side 8 of those times.

Instead of JJ Hickson, Portland has Robin Lopez in the middle this year. Robin's scoring is down (yes, that was possible) but he's been rebounding at the best rate of his career, almost 1.5 boards per 36 above his average. Andrew Bogut has played very well in his last 4 games, and should be able to continue that tonight.

Point guard has been the flashiest matchup between these teams since Damian Lillard arrived in Portland last year. Dame has only gotten better in his sophomore season, and even if Curry is at full health, containing Lillard will be a major challenge.

With Iguodala out, the wing positions have the challenges of Nic Batum, Wes Matthews, and Dorell Wright. All 3 of them (and Lillard) are hitting 3s at above a 40% clip. Batum is capable of going for either a triple-double or 5x5, and is an underated part of the Blazers' attack. Dorell has been playing very well - apparently the west coast agrees with him.

With Curry in, the Warriors at least have a solid starting lineup for this game. If he doesn't play, things get a lot dicier. If Curry is out, I expect to see Nedovic a fair amount tonight. No, this does not make me happy, any more than playing Speights at all does. The offense is so dependent on Curry that if he plays, the Dubs have a good chance to win - if he doesn't the odds go way down.

Either way - Lee, Bogut, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes will all need to have good games in order to grab a win. They can do it, but the degree of difficulty is more like a back flip than a somersault.

Predictions

  • Warriors by 1
  • Thompson scores more than Lillard
  • Barnes records a double-double
  • Someone says "The Warriors miss Jarrett Jack", and gets "The Warriors miss 1/3 their current team, let alone JJack" as a response.

Let's Go Warriors! (and don't forget your StartFour picks!)

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