A few things in this life are certain: The Blazers always play poorly in Golden State, Don Nelson does not care what anyone thinks, and the Warriors will probably only have three active players (their remaining roster consists of a scarecrow perched under the basket, and a plus-size store mannequin) when they host Portland. Golden State is as close to this league getting a throwback ABA team: no rules, a boozy coach whose best days are probably behind him, little structure, mediocre attendance (to draw more fans, every night is Ronny Turiaf Wrestles a Bear Night), and a lineup littered with no-name D-Leaguers. In short, they are the most exciting team in the NBA.
The Warriors are the Nell of the NBA, a feral lineup that can make opponents forget months—if not years—of training and practice in a matter of minutes. They don’t adapt to your game, you adapt to theirs. Imagine a team with five Rudy Fernandez’s on the court at the same time. Yeah, that’s the Warriors.
While players like Anthony Tolliver only leave the bench to pick up Branon Roy’s towel during their days in Portland, they become scoring sensations in Golden State. The team’s current D-Leaguer du jour is Reggie Williams. You might not know him, but New Orleans does: he scored 28 points against them on Monday night. While the Warriors are impressive on the offensive end of the court, their defense is comical at best. Golden State allows a ridiculous 111 points a game, a stat that doesn’t help a Portland team that moves at a more deliberate pace.
The Blazers have lost nine in a row inside the house RUN TMC built, and very few of those games have even been close. Golden State’s margin of victory during this streak is over a dozen points a game. If there ever was a time for this run to end, it would be now. The Warriors have an injury streak that would rival Portland’s, and both of their token centers—Andris Biedrins and Turiaf—will probably not see action. That means Marcus Camby—who really came out of his shell for the first time in a Blazers uniform earlier this week—will be matched up against the household name that is Chris Hunter, who brings the pain with a gentle four points and two boards a game. If Camby doesn’t walk out of Oracle Arena with at least 10 boards, Portland should consider shipping him back to Los Angeles (I hope they kept the receipt).
Tip-off: 7:30 pm
Las Vegas Line: TBA
TrueHoop Network Blog: WarriorsWorld (home of the best slogan ever: “We got suck, and salary protection”)