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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 30th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (33-39) at Golden State Warriors (41-32), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Only a major disaster down the stretch can keep the Golden State Warriors from capturing a playoff berth and they will try to move closer to that goal Saturday versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Warriors haven't made the playoffs since 2006-07 and are currently sixth in the Western Conference -- 1 1/2 games ahead of the Houston Rockets and four games clear of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.
Golden State continued its current five-game homestand with Wednesday's 105-98 loss to the Sacramento Kings and had won two straight and four of five games. David Lee posted his second straight 20-point, 10-rebound game (27th overall) and Steph Curry ended with 17 points and a season high-tying 12 assists in the setback.
The Warriors were coming off an impressive win over the Lakers and dropped to 24-11 at home. Sacramento had a 21-9 advantage in second chance points and held on for the win even though Golden State had a 68-38 difference in the paint. Still, Warriors coach Mark Jackson had issues.
"We talked about it (pre-game): We are not good enough to show up and (expect to) win ballgames," Jackson told NBA.com. "That's not who we are, and we will not be successful with that approach. If we gave the same energy and effort that we did against the Lakers (on Monday), we win this ballgame. We did not."
Jackson's unit will host New Orleans on Wednesday, then will visit Phoenix before returning home for three straight games. A win Saturday will give Golden State its first winning season since 2007-08 (48-34).
Portland is back on the road for two games and lost both of its home games on its last residency. The Blazers, who went 2-3 on a recent road trip, lost to Brooklyn on Wednesday and suffered a 105-95 setback to Utah Friday night.
Playing without star big man LaMarcus Aldridge (sprained right ankle), the Blazers were dominated in the second half to the tune of a 63-43 difference. Rookie Damian Lillard led the charge with 24 points, Nicolas Batum and J.J. Hickson both had 17 points and rookie Meyers Leonard and Wesley Matthews ended with 12 apiece in defeat, Portland's third straight and fifth in seven tries.
"They played well, we made some mistakes defensively and turned the ball over maybe five out of eight possessions," Lillard said of the playoff-hopeful Jazz. "They took advantage of it."
Utah scored 24 points off 16 Portland turnovers.
The Trail Blazers are 11-26 away from the Rose Garden and 3 1/2 games behind in the Western Conference postseason chase. They will also visit Utah before heading back home for five in a row.
Aldridge, meanwhile, is averaging 21.0 ppg this season and could make a return Saturday against the Warriors with the playoffs at stake.
Portland lost a 103-97 decision at Golden State on Jan. 11 this season and will host the Warriors on April 17. The Blazers are only 4-14 in their last 18 trips to Oracle Arena.
03/30 10:45:00 ET
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