Friday, January 28

Warriors welcome Blazers for long-awaited home opener

The Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors get a chance to get acquainted with the NBA’s new version of a doubleheader when they meet Friday night in San Francisco.

The Western Conference clubs, which have gone head-to-head in the playoffs in three of the past five seasons, are scheduled for a rematch, also in San Francisco, on Sunday.

The Warriors will become the last NBA team to host a home opener, having started with crush losses in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, followed by narrow victories in Chicago and Detroit.

Golden State was at its best of the season both on offense and defense in Tuesday’s 116-106 win at Detroit, shooting 50 percent from the field and limiting the Pistons to 38 percent.

Stephen Curry has been the driving force in the Warriors’ offensive improvement. He averaged 19.5 points and was 4 of 20 on 3s against the Nets and Bucks, games in which Golden State was limited to 99 points each.

But Curry has found range in his last two outings, hitting 10 of his 24 3s while posting a 33.5 scoring average, helping the Warriors score 129 points against the Bulls and 116 against the Pistons.

Now Golden State hopes to have defensive ace Raymond Green on the court for the first time after he missed the first four games following a positive test for coronavirus and a subsequent sprained right foot.

Overall, Golden State coach Steve Kerr is happy with his team’s position.

” I think going into this trip, when the season schedule came out, we all looked at it and thought that if we could go 2-2, it would be a really successful trip,” he said after the victory in Detroit. “Especially given the length of our offseason and everything that happens with our team: Raymond is out, Raymond is missing from camp, all of that.

” So I think we all feel great. We are excited to get home. And our confidence level should be increasing because we are starting to see the kind of team we should be.”

The Trail Blazers recovered a veteran forward from COV ID-19 issues when Carmelo Anthony made his season debut in Wednesday’s 128-105 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anthony was the team’s leading scorer off the bench with 15 points in 25 minutes.

Portland opened 2-2 against a tough schedule that has featured every Western Conference playoff team from last season. They had won in Los Angeles 115-107 against the Lakers two nights before falling to the Clippers.

Now the Trail Blazers are embarking on a five-game stretch where they won’t see a 2020 playoff club.

” We have won some close games, we have lost,” guard CJ McCollum said. ” But at the end of the day, we’re 2-2 (a week) into the season. So there’s a lot of time to figure things out. We have two games left on this road trip, so we have to take care of business.”

Interestingly, Friday’s game features the current record holder for points scored at the 1-year Chase Center in San Francisco, and it’s not Curry.

Portland’s Damian Lillard, a native of Oakland, posted a record 39 in the arena last November in a 127-118 loss.

–Field level media

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