Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In Preview: Warriors vs. Trail Blazers


The Portland Trail Blazers, coming off a stellar blowout victory against the Sacramento Kings, get no chance to rest with the Golden State Warriors already in town for tonight's contest at the Rose Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Both teams are playing their second preseason game, with the Warriors having lost 106-103 to the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.

Golden State has won five consecutive preseason meetings dating back to 2002, including three straight in the Rose Garden. Portland is 19-21 vs. Golden State in the preseason, overall.

Golden State enters tonight's game with a lineup significantly different from last season. Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Marcus Williams and rookie Anthony Randolph join Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis and Andris Beindrins in coach Don Nelson's high-powered offense. Nelson, by the way, has more wins against Portland than any other current head coach in the NBA, posting a 49-51 (.490) record. The 100 meetings is also the most of any current head coach.

As for Nate McMillan's squad, changes in the lineups are coming in the second game of the preseason, and reasons are twofold. First, McMillan wants to make sure his regular season starters, namely Brandon Roy, don't end up wearing themselves down coming off of injury. Second, McMillan is eager to tinker with different personnel combinations. In tonight's game Jerryd Bayless will start at point guard, Rudy Fernandez at shooting guard Travis Outlaw at small forward, LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward and Greg Oden at center.

On that same note, expect to see the players with non-guaranteed contracts (Steven Hill, Shavlik Randolph, Luke Jackson and Jamaal Tatum) get more playing time tonight.

Probably Starters

Golden State

Corey Maggette, SF
Al Harrington, PF
Andris Beindrins, C
C.J. Watson, G
Stephen Jackson, SF


Travis Outlaw, SF
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF
Greg Oden, C
Jerryd Bayless, PG
Rudy Fernandez, SG

Matchup of the Night

You probably wouldn't assume Andris Beindrins and Greg Oden have much in common, and to a certain extent they don't, but there are similarities. Both prefer to operate in or near the paint and neither sports a reliable midrange jumper. Both are decent passers at their position and both will block their fair share of shots.

But when it comes to style, the contrasts become evident. Beindrins, weighing in at 245 lbs, is a rail compared to the thick mass of humanity that is Greg Oden. That size and strength disparity won't do the Latvian any favors in the post, but with Don Nelson's offense predicated on speed up and down the floor, Beindrins might find himself not having to worry about getting pushed out of the block if he can beat young Oden to the spot.

Coach Quote

Nate McMillan on the new look Golden State Warriors.

"I think they'll play the same way. Coach Nelson has been about matchups most of his career since I've known him as a player and he will try to take advantage of where he feels he has an advantage.

Sometimes he tries to create matchups. he may play his small forward at center to try and force you to match up with him. We can;t worry about that. That's part of the adjusting we're talking about, adjusting to game, adjusting to what they're doing. It will be a battle of tempos tonight. Who can control the tempo? Can they get their game tempo going with the spread offense, isolation game? Can we get our tempo going with knowing when to run, when to set up and go inside and take advantage of our size?"

Pulling Quotes

Wright starting to show he has the right stuff, Janny Hu, San Fransisco Chronicle:
Coach Don Nelson spiced up the backup power-forward competition Tuesday by declaring rookie Anthony Randolph's superiority over incumbent Brandan Wright.

"It hasn't been close so far," Nelson said. "Randolph is clearly getting better every day and has earned a right to say, at least at this point, he's ahead."

Nelson essentially challenged Wright to pick up his game. Randolph has generated buzz with his confident play throughout camp, and Wright has been slowed by a toe injury that caused him to miss a night of scrimmaging last week.

"I don't know how much that's held him back," Nelson said, "but Wright needs to be more aggressive, there's no question. Show that he's a player. It's his second year. I expect more out of him. He's got to start stepping up."

Broadcast Information

Tonight's game is the only contest of the preseason that will be televised on locally. Mike Barrett and Mike Rice will have the call on KGW Channel 8 starting at 7 p.m. And as always, Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey hold down the radio side on the Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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