Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Wrap-Up Season Against Warriors On Fan Appreciation Night

04/17/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    Wednesday night, the Trail Blazers (33-48) will close out the regular season against the Golden State Warriors (46-35) at the Rose Garden on Fan Appreciation Night. Tip-off is set for 7PM and the game will be broadcast on KGW. It can also be heard on the radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM. The Trail Blazers are looking to avoid ending the season on a 13-game losing streak.

    It seems like it was just yesterday when things got going at Training Camp and we discussed the prospects of Adam Morrison joining the Trail Blazers. Just yesterday, we weren't sure about how this Damian Lillard guy from Weber State would fair, playing the league's marquee position. And, it seems just the other day that the Trail Blazers rocked the Rose Garden into a pandemonium when that same Weber State rookie lit up the Lakers for 23 and 11 in his first game.

    It all went by so fast. A season with highs earlier that matched the lows. Very little, if anything, was expected of this young group just a year removed from the firing of a head coach and a complete roster overhaul at the trade deadline. The people that nobody expected anything from, led by a quiet and somewhat under appreciated All-Star and a rookie point guard from a small school, suddenly created expectations for themselves of postseason play.

    Those expectations and dreams have been asleep for a few weeks now but whether the Trail Blazers are able to get a win and break their losing streak or they fall to an opponent trying to get a more desirable playoff seed, it ends tonight regardless. One more game for Damian Lillard, on his way to play 82 games in his first season, which would make him one of 25 rookies to play and start in 82 games in a season since the three-point line was brought in during the 1979-80 NBA season (h/t to Basketball-Reference.com). One more game until the season becomes a point of reference, something to look back on. Something to dissect and analyze as it's own complete entity.

      
    •    LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews both sat out of last night's game in Los Angles, each dealing with ankle sprains. The status for both is uncertain. Nicolas Batum, as reported over the weekend is out for the season and will not play. Nolan Smith, too, is done for the year with a partially torn patellar tendon.
       
    •    The Warriors have had a lot of success against the Trail Blazers in the two meetings between the teams. The first match-up, Lillard's memorable homecoming to Oakland, was unfortunately Lillard single-handedly keeping his team in the game. Dame scored a then career-high of 37 points in his hometown but the Warriors had too much firepower and the Trail Blazers shot a yawn enduring 38 percent from the field, something not even their 15 made threes could overcome. David Lee (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Steph Curry (22 points, 12 assists) both had double-doubles and Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack provided significant contributions off the bench. The second match-up in Oakland, the Trail Blazers once again provided little resistance on the defensive end. Despite Meyers Leonard scoring a career high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds, the Warriors put up highs of their own on the offensive end, going for 125 points, a season-high for their home arena. Curry was precise as is customary from beyond the arc as he finished the night with 39 points, including going seven of 12 from the three-point line. The Warriors, like the other teams the Trail Blazers have faced down the stretch, are fighting for playoff seeding. With a win, the Warriors will clinch the sixth seed and avoid playing either Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.
       
    •    Can Will Barton finish out his strong stretch of recent play on a high note? As the season has winded down and the Trail Blazers have struggled, Barton's high-energy brand of play has been a bright spot. Since his breakout game against Dallas, Barton has started in the previous of games. In the last five games, Barton has shown to be the type of player he was in college: an aggressive and athletic player who has he ability to get his own shot, rebound and pass the rock a little too. Barton has averaged 16.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and two steals a game. The growth hasn't come without it's pains as Will is averaging three turnovers and has only made one three-pointer during this same stretch. Nonetheless, it's been nice to see a player find his own role and make a case that he deserves playing time next season, provided he makes the right improvements as a spot-up shooter and team defender in the off-season.




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