Oct 20, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) grabs a rebound over teammate shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) in the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers Without Wesley Matthews Against Warriors


Wesley Matthews will miss tonight’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors after experiencing an irregular heartbeat in practice yesterday. He underwent a successful electrical cardioversion procedure to return his heartbeat to normal. While he is okay, this is cause for concern, as electrical intervention is only used in emergencies or when proper medications fail to help. Matthews is listed as Day-to-day, but is in good spirits.

 

The question now becomes, “Who will start in his absence tonight?” Terry Stotts has stated that he will treat this contest as if it were a regular season game. With that in mind, this will be our chance to see who has preference in the rotation; Will Barton or Allen Crabbe. Until CJ McCollum is healthy (broken foot), one of these two will be most likely to come off the bench behind Wesley Matthews in the regular season.

Barton started in Matthews’ place during Portland’s 94-84 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, but that does not tell us much because Crabbe was unable to play due to illness. Crabbe has since returned and will be able to compete with Barton for court time. Both have looked good in preseason; Barton improving his scoring efficiency and Crabbe dwarfing his own Summer League display.

I would not be at all surprised to see Terry Stotts leave one of them almost entirely out of the game. Since he wants this win as if it counted, there is a good chance that Mo Williams will spend some time at the shooting guard position; especially now that Earl Watson (calf contusion) has returned to back up the point. Stotts may also play Batum at shooting guard and Wright at small forward, as he did while experimenting early on.

The game will not be televised, but Wheels and Tone will have the radio broadcast on 620 AM. Pay close attention to Will Barton and Allen Crabbe. Whoever sees more time tonight is most likely to be utilized consistently when the regular season begins. The shooting guard rotation has been one of Portland’s biggest question marks as the season approaches.


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