This isn’t the Portland Trail Blazers team that I came to know and love from afar during the Golden State Warriors’ dynastic run. The Blazers used to have an undersized and plucky backcourt led by All-Stars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, with a bruising center named Jusuf Nurkic banging in the paint. That was their Big 3 and the driving force behind the team making the 2019 Western Conference Finals before the Warriors swept them out.
Now? McCollum has been shipped out to New Orleans, Lillard is recovering from abdominal surgery in January, and Nurkic is going to miss time per NBA.com:
And now, with 23 games left to play in the regular season, the Trail Blazers are going through more changes, resulting in the team looking considerably different, once again, after the All-Star break than they did before it.
First and foremost, the team announced on Wednesday that Jusuf Nurkic, the only player who started on Opening Night who was still in the starting lineup prior to the All-Star break, will be sidelined for at least the next four weeks due to flare up of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Rip City will also be without Eric Bledsoe because of an Achilles’ issue,
Not good. Their opponent Thursday night is the Warriors, who look different in a positive way. The Splash Bros are back, with Stephen Curry dominating the All-Star game and Klay Thompson steadily regaining the form that made him arguably the 77th greatest NBA player of all time. They are missing their men in the middle Draymond Green and James Wiseman though.
Andre Iguodala remains out for the Warriors exiting the All-Star break tomorrow night in Portland. Draymond Green and James Wiseman also out. Wiseman is on the road trip, Green isn’t.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 24, 2022
Golden State won the first two matchups between the two teams this season by double-digits, and to keep that streak going they’ll have to keep tabs on Portland guard Anfernee Simons. He’s averaging 22.6 PPG over his last 10 games and is absolutely fearless.
Anfernee Simons last 4 games— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 17, 2022
vs Grizzlies: 31 PTS, 5 3PT, W
vs Bucks: 31 PTS, 7 3PT, W
vs Knicks: 30 PTS, 6 3PT, W
vs Lakers: 29 PTS, 5 3PT, W
Legit star. pic.twitter.com/YUYUxGg37H
Portland Trail Blazers young star Anfernee Simons sits down with @Stadium: “Fantasizing being in those moments…I didn't expect this.” On bond with coach Chauncey Billups, learning from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, utilizing Dame's sidestep, Most Improved Player and more. pic.twitter.com/bsO120dspQ— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 22, 2022
Who ya got, Warriors or Blazers?
This poll is closed
Warriors have too much firepower
All-Star weekend hangover will bite the Dubs and get Portland the W