Trail Blazers host Curry-less Warriors

By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Pool photo by John G. Mabanglo/UPI
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Pool photo by John G. Mabanglo/UPI | License Photo

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers' eight-game winning streak began Feb. 14, when the Golden State Warriors came for a pre-All-Star break visit to Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers came away with a 123-117 victory, with Damian Lillard bombing in 44 points to lead the way.


They haven't lost since, and now Portland (39-26) and Golden State (51-14) collide again Friday night at Moda Center. The Warriors will be without Stephen Curry, who suffered an ankle injury in Thursday's 110-107 victory over San Antonio at Oracle Arena -- Golden State's seventh straight win.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr ruled Curry out of Friday's game, telling reporters: "We got to be careful with it. Take him on the trip, he won't play (Friday). We'll see from there."

Lillard said the victory over the Warriors served as a springboard for the current streak.

"Beating a team like that told our team that, if we are this locked in offensively and defensively, we can beat them," he said. "We can beat anybody. It just carried on from there.


"This is a great opportunity for us to make a statement about the team that we've become. We beat them once. Now we've had a really good stretch, and we can do it again."

Over the past 10 games, Lillard is averaging 35.4 points while shooting 48.9 from the field, 42.2 on 3-point attempts and 87.8 from the free-throw line.

Lillard expects to find 6-5 shooting guard Klay Thompson defending him Friday night.

"For two years now, they've put Klay on me," Lillard said. "That's a common thing in the NBA now. Sometimes you start a bigger defender on guys, make it harder to deal with."

Lillard said he enjoys playing the Warriors, in part because of "the pace of the game."

"It's a back-and-forth game whenever we play them," Lillard said. "We know they're going to shoot some tough shots and play fast and aggressive. That style always gives you a chance to be in the game. Even if you get down, their style allows you to claw your way back. It's always fun."

The Warriors have talked about "running the table" over the final 17 games of the regular season.


"It might be unrealistic," Thompson told reporters, "but it would be nice to do that, because we're right on Houston's heels. It's a very tight race right now, so we have to try to take the lead."

Golden State's bench could be short-handed, too, with forwards Andre Iguodala (wrist), Jordan Bell (ankle) and Davis West (arm) all doubtful.

"It's one of those games that's easy to get up for," Portland forward Ed Davis said. "Friday night, sold-out arena, crowd's going to be rocking, (the Warriors) are going to want to get us back. ... as a player, that's all you can ask for."

Latest Headlines