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Warriors vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Leave Portland's ship off course

The Warriors enter Moda Center for the first of four against the Trail Blazers who will look to take out their 1-1 frustration on the 2-0 W's.

Iggy for the slam.
Iggy for the slam.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers (thumb)

Portland Trail Blazers
1-1 (1-0 home)
Golden State Warriors
2-0 (1-0 road)
November 2, 2014
Moda Center, Portland, OR
6:00PM PT
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 1050 AM
Blog Buddy: Blazer's Edge
Projected Starters
Damian Lillard G Stephen Curry
Wesley Matthews G Klay Thompson
Nicholas Batum F Harrison Barnes
Lamarcus Aldridge F Draymond Green
Robin Lopez C Andrew Bogut
Key Injuries
Meyers Leonard (illness day-today)

David Lee - doubtful (hamstring)
Brandon Rush - day to day
2013/14 Four Factors
..488 (16th) 10% (4th) 26.4% (14) .200 (19th) OFF .554 (3rd) 18.6% (29th) 25.7% (17th) .297 (7th)
.432 (4th) 11.7 (23rd) 22.9 (30th) .321 (28th) DEF .413 (1st) 20.3% (1st) 32% (29th) .265 (24th)

There comes a point in a team's season when they're shocked by a loss and have every intent to cram all of the emotions that run with that disappointment into the next game. They run through the tunnel a bit faster, warm up a bit harder, and in most cases from top-to-bottom of the depth chart there's greater focus.

Such could be the state of the Portland Trail Blazers, 48 hours after a surprising loss to the Sacramento Kings.

They've had time to sulk, discuss and regroup. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and crew must watch out for Portland's emotional leaders Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. While Lillard has gotten off to a sluggish start to the season, he's still hit 6-of-15 trey balls for 40 percent and Aldridge is putting up 24.5 points through two contests.

With Meyers Leonard out for the Blazers, coach Terry Stots will look to Chris Kaman to assert himself off the bench and put points on the board. Festus Ezeli must put Kaman in the one place he hates to be on the floor: the low block playing a physically bruising game. Kaman and Aldridge are two major contributors towards the 35 points a night the Blazers are putting up in the paint.

Speaking of the paint, currently 53 percent of the Blazers points are coming from the field while 30 percent are from three, so the Warriors will have to be on defensive alert, getting their hands into passing lanes and defending the post better than any of their first two contests. Smothering Aldridge in the same manner the Warriors put some extra TLC on Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will be vital. Every bucket scored in the paint needs to be well-contested and hard to come by.

Getting in Mathews' face will be just as important since 67 percent of his field goals have been assisted, it seems Lillard and Blazers head coach Terry Stotts have been trying to get Mathews going early as a greater threat from deep opens up scoring for players like Aldridge and Kaman down low. In the Blazers first two games, Mathews has averaged 19 points. Limiting his production will be important for the W's.

Aside from the individual matchups, this game will be about tempo and speed. The Warriors must continue to play their brand of basketball and at the pace they dictate - they can't allow speedy guards Lillard and C.J. McCollum to set the pace of the game.

In 211 games played in the playoffs and regular season, the Warriors own only 91 of those wins which accounts for a .431 winning percentage against Portland. If the W's can contain Lillard's movement while limiting Wesley Mathews, they'll be 3-0 before heads hit pillows tonight.

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