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News » Warriors-Trail Blazers Preview

Warriors-Trail Blazers Preview

Warriors-Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers' schedule hasn't been kind in their first four games without Brandon Roy. After a clutch shot helped salvage a split in those contests, however, the Blazers have to feel good as they enter a much less daunting stretch.

The Blazers look to build on a last-possession victory as they host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

Roy, the Blazers' leading scorer with 23.0 points per game, is day-to-day with a right hamstring injury that has kept him out of Portland's last four games, all against teams that won their division last season and appear to be contenders again in 2008-09.

The Blazers (21-14) beat reigning NBA champion Boston on Dec. 30 before dropping consecutive games to New Orleans and the Western Conference-best Los Angeles Lakers. They rebounded Wednesday night, topping Detroit 84-83 on Travis Outlaw's fadeaway jumper with 8.9 seconds remaining.

"Travis has made many, may big shots for us, and I'm sure he'll make many more," Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge said after Portland handed Detroit its first loss in eight games.

Outlaw, who had 14 points off the bench, hopes that game-changing shot can buoy the Blazers' spirits while they await the return of their All-Star guard.

"This was real big," Outlaw said. "We need to keep building confidence so when Brandon comes back it will be that much easier."

Roy isn't expected back on Saturday, but things might be easier for Portland anyway with Golden State (10-27) coming to town to begin a more manageable stretch of schedule for the Blazers. Portland faces Golden State, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Charlotte and Milwaukee before its next big challenge - hosting Cleveland on Jan. 21.

The Blazers' chances on Saturday are particularly good since they're 13-4 at the Rose Garden.

The Warriors, meanwhile, have dropped six straight away from home to fall to 4-19 on the road. They put up a good fight at home against the Lakers on Wednesday night, but were outscored 37-26 in the fourth quarter of the 114-106 defeat.

"If we play like this every night, it will be different," said second-year guard Marco Belinelli, who scored 14 points and helped contain reigning MVP Kobe Bryant. "When we play at home, we have the fans, we have everything.

"But when we go on the road, we have to play with this same aggression, and we will be fine."

Golden State has lost three of its last four in Portland, but has won 11 of 14 overall in the series, including a 111-106 home win Nov. 18 in the teams' first meeting this season. Rookie guard Anthony Morrow led six Warriors players scoring in double figures with 25 points in that game, and Stephen Jackson added 20.

But both players missed the Warriors' last game. Jackson is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and Morrow wasn't with the team while awaiting the birth of his child with his girlfriend. Their availability for Saturday is uncertain.

Blazers rookie center Greg Oden took advantage of a thin Golden State frontcourt in his first meeting with the Warriors, scoring a season-high 22 points and adding 10 rebounds.

Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 before knee surgery kept him out all of last season, is averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds over his last three games.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 10, 2009


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