Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors: Preview, injury report, and how to watch

(Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
(Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second time in three days, the Portland Trail Blazers duel it out with the Golden State Warriors. Here’s what we learned, how it affects tonight, and how to watch.

Late in their New Year’s Day victory over the Golden State Warriors, a thought creeped into one’s mind that never would have seemed desirable in the past: wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Portland Trail Blazers got a chance to play the Warriors more often?

Two nights later, they will get their opportunity. After putting together their most all-around, complete game in quite some time, the Portland Trail Blazers will be hoping to replicate their 123-98 victory from Jan. 1, in what turned out to be a historic night for multiple players, namely Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony.

But in inspecting that win, it became clear that Portland’s whole was greater than the sum of their parts. They made a concerted effort to swing the ball and keep the defense on its heels.

Along the way, they also tightened the clamps on their defense, taking advantage of a Warriors team with new players entering the spotlight, and struggling to find its identity.

In recap, it was one of those types of confidence-building victories that can catapult a team into a sustained run. Portland doesn’t play a team with a winning record again until Jan. 14 (as of this writing), and their controlling of the Warriors in back-to-back sets would give this team something they could look back on with positivity when the Playoff race heats up later.

Friday’s game also offered a few trends: the Warriors are going to be trapping Lillard with regularity, whether he’s using screens on-ball or in handoff situations. So, having players that are able to make use of that extra space will be the deciding factor.

In this win, Portland executed to a tee, using their advantages on the weak side to explode offensively, hitting 20 3-pointers, and putting together 23 assists. That will be something to watch tonight. Understandably, they open as 4-point Vegas favorites. Here’s a look at the injury report.

How to follow the action:

— Date: Sunday, January 3rd
— Time: 5:30 pm PT
— How to watch: NBATV, or FuboTV
— How to listen: NBA League Pass Radio or Rip City Radio 620 AM

Injury report, per CBS Sports

— (POR) Nassir Little, protocol (expected to be out until Jan. 3)
— (POR) Zach Collins, ankle (expected to be out until Mar. 1)
— (POR) Rodney Hood, quadriceps
— (GSW) Marquese Chriss, leg (out for season)
— (GSW) Alen Smailagic, knee (game time decision)
— (GSW) Klay Thompson, Achilles (out for season)

Projected starters:

POR — Damian Lillard (G), CJ McCollum (G), Derrick Jones Jr., (F), Robert Covington (F), Jusuf Nurkic (C)
GSW — Stephen Curry (G), Kelly Oubre Jr. (G), Andrew Wiggins (F), Draymond Green (F) James Wiseman (C)

Next. Is CJ McCollum a first-time All-Star in 2021?. dark