March 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots the ball as Sacramento Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) defends during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. Golden State won 111-108. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Game 49 Preview: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors

Blazers: 22-26 (5th Northwest Division)

Warriors: 20-26 (4th Pacific Division)

Game Details: Rose Garden Arena Portland, OR. 6:00 PM. TV: CSN. Radio: 750 AM (KXTG)

Projected Blazers Lineup: PG Raymond Felton (#5, 6’1”, North Carolina), SG Wesley Matthews (#2, 6’5”, Marquette), SF Nicolas Batum (#88, 6’8”, MSB Le Mans, France), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (#12, 6’11”, Texas). C Joel Przybilla (#10. 7’1”, Minnesota)

Projected Warriors Lineup: PG Charles Jenkins (#20, 6’3”, Hofstra), SG Klay Thompson (#11, 6’7”, Washington State), SF Dorell Wright (#1, 6’9”, South Kent High School), PF David Lee (#10, 6’9”, Florida), C Jeremy Tyler (#3, 6’10”, Tokyo Apache)

In the race to the bottom of the Western Conference, the Blazers and the Warriors seem to be taking the same approach: liquidating the roster in an attempt to get better draft position then winning games to the determinant of that previous aim.

One night ago, the Warriors beat the Kings in Oakland by three with big nights from Klay Thompson, son of former Blazer Mychal Thompson, and David Lee. Klay Thompson could be a player, David Lee could someday play for another team. It makes sense from those two guys to want to bring it this late in what has otherwise been a pretty dismal season.

As for the rest of this Warriors squad, it’s a hodgepodge of guys you’ve never heard of (Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins), guys you have heard of but probably only second or third hand (Dominic McGuire and Dorell Wright), and one guy that if you were paying attention to only the Blazers’ exploits at the trade deadline you’ll be shocked to see in a Warriors uni (Richard Jefferson). Can they win a basketball game? Of course they can. Do they want to? Who knows.

What makes this game interesting, sort of, is that Portland is in the same position. They’re going to run a deep rotation, they’re going to try to play an aggressive game, and they’re going to try to win with Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt getting extended minutes.

Sunday is going to be a battle. It’s not going to be a pretty game, and it probably won’t be that much fun to watch for stretches. That’s where we are right now. I would say that if the Blazers can find a way to win big and get some rest for their starters, they’ll be in good shape for next week when they play the Thunder at home, travel to the Clippers, and host the Timberwolves again. Those three games are against teams with something to play for (although the Wolves aren’t playing for much more than the Blazers are).

Those games will matter, in the sense that Portland can play spoiler, of some kind. It’s going to be hard to convince anybody that Sunday’s game matters, especially those guys unfortunate enough to have to play in it.


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