- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: CSN-BA
Portland Trail Blazers
- Offensive Efficiency: 103.5 (11th in NBA)
- Offensive Efficiency: 105.8 (24th in NBA)
- Points: LaMarcus Aldridge, 21.0 PPG
- Rebounds: J.J. Hickson, 10.7 RPG
- Assists: Damian Lillard, 6.5 APG
- Steals: Wesley Matthews, 1.3 SPG
- Blocks: LaMarcus Aldridge, 1.3 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: J.J. Hickson, 56.7% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Wesley Matthews, 41.0% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Portland Roundball Society.
Preview: After losing on March 27th to the Sacramento Kings (27-46), the Golden State Warriors (41-32) will host the Portland Trail Blazers (33-39) tonight at Oracle Arena.
The Blazers have lost three games in a row. Breaking the losing streak this evening will be a little difficult given that LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the contest because of a left ankle sprain.
Aldridge’s absence puts the spotlight on Damian Lillard and J.J. Hickson.
Lillard should get an opportunity to monopolize the offense more than usual since feeding the post will become less of a priority. Indeed, the rookie point guard’s responsibilities will consist of running the offense but more so than anything asserting himself offensively.
So far this season, that’s what he’s done whenever he’s been on the court without his 6’11’’ big man.
Per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, Lillard averages 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per 36 minutes with Aldridge off the court.
However, when Aldridge is on the hardwood, his output takes a slight deep as he produces 16 points and six assists per 36 minutes.
Terry Stotts will more than likely rely on his point guard’s play more than usual tonight.
In addition, Portland will need Hickson to play well against the Dubs. He is a good finisher around the basket and does a good job of cutting to the hoop for quick catches and finishes.
Aldridge’s absence might shrink the court offensively for the Blazers given that his midrange shooting typically keeps defenses honest. Consequently, Hickson might not get the amount of easy catches in the paint he routinely obtains.
Given the circumstances, Hickson might have to hit the offensive glass. Second chance points might very well help replace some of Aldridge’s scoring tonight.
As it pertains to the Warriors, Jeremy Conlin from Portland Roundball Society has a fairly detailed breakdown of them. Here’s a quick snippet:
The Warriors create a lot of their three-point looks in transition – players like Klay Thompson will run to the long range stripe instead of the rim on fast breaks, and Stephen Curry will set up drag-screens before the defense is set and step straight to the arc for a pull-up. It’s an unconventional philosophy that even the most prepared teams can be caught off-guard by if their focus lapses.
Conlin’s post can be found here.
It’s worth noting that although it’s improbable, Portland still has an outside shot of making the playoffs. Hence, the head-to-head matchup between Golden State and Portland actually affects the postseason race as well as seeding.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.