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Preview: Trail Blazers v. Warriors, 7 PM

02/15/12
  1. Written by: trailblazers  / avg. rating: 5.0


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    The Portland Trail Blazers were already struggling. Without LaMarcus Aldridge, things are likely to get a lot tougher.

    Aldridge will be sidelined Wednesday night when the Trail Blazers attempt to avoid another loss to the surging Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is schedule for 7 PM on CSN 37, ESPN and 750 AM The Game.

    Portland (15-14) has lost four of five after falling 124-109 at home to Washington on Tuesday, but suffered perhaps an even greater blow when Aldridge suffered a sprained left ankle early in the game.

    "I think when he went down the life went out of us," center Marcus Camby said. "It's sad but true."

    X-rays on the ankle were negative, but Aldridge won't be with the team in Oakland. That leaves the Blazers without their leading scorer (22.6 points per game) and rebounder (8.3). His status beyond Wednesday remains unclear, meaning Aldridge's first All-Star game appearance later this month could be in jeopardy.

    "I'm going to get back as soon as I can!"' Aldridge wrote on his Twitter account after the game.

    With Aldridge out, Portland - 4-10 on the road - could use another strong performance from Nicolas Batum, who earned a rare start at guard Tuesday and tied his career high with 33 points - more than 20 above his average of 12.9.

    The Blazers could also use increased production from second-leading scorer Jamal Crawford, who averages 14.3 points but scored a season-low three in the loss to the Wizards.

    Crawford and Batum combined for 32 points in a 101-93 loss at Golden State (11-14) on Jan. 25, the Blazers' fourth consecutive loss to the Warriors overall and 12th in their last 13 visits to Oracle Arena.

    Portland has also dropped five of its last six road games overall.

    The Warriors have won a season-high three straight games and are trying to win four in a row for the first time since Jan. 14-21, 2011.

    Golden State has also won five of seven at home after losing six of its first nine games there. The recent success at Oracle Arena continued Monday with a 102-96 victory over Phoenix.

    "The significance is that we need to get back in this race, and all we can do is win games," said forward David Lee, who had 28 points and 12 rebounds against the Suns.

    "We need to protect our home court better than we did at the start of the year. We've had some games that we've played that could've gone either way, teams that are around us in the standings like Houston, like Phoenix, we've got another one with Portland coming up that are really going to separate whether we can be in this thing or whether we're going to fade."

    Lee shot 12 of 21 and finished with 26 points against Portland last month.

    Monta Ellis leads Golden State with 22.5 points per game on the season, but was held to four on 2-of-9 shooting in the Jan. 25 win. He'd averaged 32.3 points the previous four times he faced the Blazers.

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