Trail Blazers face two tough foes prior to All-Star break: Saturday Blazer

Portland Trail Blazers Al-Farouq Aminu (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers Al-Farouq Aminu (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images) /

With the NBA All-Star Game coming up Feb. 18, the Portland Trail Blazers have just two games over the next 12 days. But those are two difficult games, indeed.

Welcome to your Saturday Blazer, Rip City. Feeling good again? Better than last weekend, yeah? That’s how it’s been with our Trail Blazers this season: a Dickensian mix — it was the best of games, it was the worst of games …

Can’t help but wonder what’s gonna happen this week before the NBA takes its All-Star break. The Trail Blazers certainly won’t be able to coast into their vacations, since they play two of the tougher foes in the Western Conference — the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors.

Trail Blazers At Their Best

The Trail Blazers have won two straight, beating the Hornets at home in overtime Thursday and then turning around and whooping the Kings Friday in Sacramento. You may have heard about that one, since Damian Lillard dropped an easy 50 points in just 29 minutes.

But the hard truth is, the Blazers have been at their best when playing lesser teams. After manhandling Sacramento, the Blazers’ are now 19-5 against teams without a winning record. And even victories against so-called lesser opponents don’t always come without at least a hint of drama.

Against teams at or above .500, on the other hand? Portland is just 12-20 in those games.

So where do the Utah Jazz fit in? Their record says one thing, but their recent play suggests something altogether different.

Jazz vs. Trail Blazers

The Utah Jazz are 27-28 (No. 10 in the Western Conference), but don’t let that sub-.500 record fool you. The Jazz have been a straight-up juggernaut in recent weeks, winning eight in a row and 10 of their last 12.

And, unlike the Trail Blazers, Utah hasn’t feasted on patsies. During that eight-game win streak, Utah has beaten … get this … Toronto, Detroit, Golden State, San Antonio and New Orleans.

The Blazers, on the other hand, have lost both their games against Toronto this season. Detroit beat them last Monday. Golden State beat them on Dec. 11. And the New Orleans Pelicans have taken two out of three against Portland so far this season.

And head-to-head? The Jazz beat Portland in Utah 112-103 in overtime way back on Nov. 1. The teams will play three more times, including Sunday’s tilt, between now and April 11.

Tip-off at the Moda Center is set for Sunday 6 p.m. PST.

Warriors vs. Trail Blazers

After their Sunday tilt against the Jazz, the Trail Blazers will turn their attention to a Wednesday match-up against the Golden State Warriors (currently first in the West with a 42-13 record). The Warriors play San Antonio Saturday and Phoenix Monday before heading to the Moda Center to take on the Blazers.

This will be the second of three games between the Trail Blazers and the Warriors. The third and final game will be March 9, also at the Moda Center.

Next: What Neil Olshey had to say about the trade deadline

Tip-off for Wednesday’s (Valentine’s Night!) game against the Warriors is set for 7:30 p.m.

Go Blazers.