Golden State is suddenly struggling even though scoring has not been a problem. The Warriors usually don't run into problems unless their offense is held in check, as evidenced by two losses to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Warriors, slumping down the stretch with their playoff hopes on the line, look to avoid another subpar offensive performance against the Trail Blazers when the teams conclude their season series Thursday night.
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Golden State (43-27) has lost four of its last seven games despite averaging 112.3 points during that span, suggesting its high-scoring offense alone may not be good enough for it to reach the playoffs in the powerful Western Conference. Coming off a 123-119 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, the eighth-place Warriors are just a half-game ahead of Denver for the West's final postseason spot.
It's unusual for Golden State to go through this type of slump when its offense remains sharp. The Warriors, though, certainly have had their problems when their attack has been slowed down, losing seven of eight games when being held under 100 points.
Portland (38-34) is the only team that has held Golden State under 100 points twice this season, winning 105-95 on Dec. 12 and 109-91 on Jan. 9. The Warriors have scored 100 points or more in each of their 34 games since.
Golden State avenged its two losses to Portland, beating the Blazers 110-104 on March 2. It was Portland's fifth straight road loss against Golden State since a 78-75 victory on Nov. 3, 2004.
With only 12 games left in the regular season, the Warriors can't afford a third letdown against the Blazers. After Thursday, three of Golden State's next four contests are against Denver and Dallas, its top two competitors in the playoff race.
The Warriors will continue their playoff push without Chris Webber, who has ended his comeback attempt and will retire after 15 seasons in the NBA. He played only nine games with Golden State before being sidelined by a left knee injury.
The Warriors were hoping Webber could add some depth to their frontcourt, but they continue to be led by star guards Baron Davis and Monta Ellis. The duo combined for 48 points and 16 assists versus the Lakers on Monday, and 40 points and 11 assists in the win against the Blazers on March 2.
Brandon Roy led Portland in that game with 26 points, but may be sidelined Thursday. Roy left Portland's 102-82 loss to Washington on Tuesday night after straining his right groin at the end of the first quarter.
Coach Nate McMillan said Roy would be evaluated to determine the extent of his injury, but he wasn't optimistic.
"That (injury) can sit you down for a month," he said.
Roy leads Portland with 19.3 points per game. The Blazers were already without second-leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, who sprained an ankle in a loss to Seattle on Monday night. His status for Thursday's game is also uncertain.
"It's always sad to see some of your guys go down," said Portland swingman Martell Webster, who has combined for 45 points in his last two games. "But that's when other guys step to the plate. Coach (McMillan) always tells us that when your name is called, you have to be ready."
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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