Sat, 19 Sep 2020

Refreshed Warriors to face new-look Trail Blazers

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2020, 09:05 GMT+10

A 10-game losing streak is in the background and Steve Kerr couldn't be happier.

The Golden State Warriors coach is well aware the slide matched the franchise's longest skid since the 2001-02 campaign, and now he can focus on trying to help the club win its second straight game when the Warriorsvisit the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

"We've had a couple of long losing streaks that are really, really difficult to live with," Kerr said after Saturday's 109-95 home win over the Orlando Magic. "You just feel bad for the players and the organization, people who are working so hard every day. You want to see everybody happy and you want to see the fans happy."

The Warriors won four straight games prior to the 10-game slide and that marked the only time they won at least two consecutive games all season.

The campaign was clearly going to be a long one once Stephen Curry broke his left hand to join fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson (knee) on the sidelines.

But nobody saw it bottoming out this badly -- at 10-34, the Warriors are in last place in the Western Conference -- and injuries have been a recurring theme. Power forward Draymond Green (sprained left index finger), small forward Glenn Robinson III (ankle) and guard Jacob Evans (concussion) missed the Orlando game. Golden State won despite having just nine players.

"All we can do with the amount of guys we have and the amount of experience we have, we just have to keep on going into these games and learning from them and not reverting back to stuff that causes us to lose games," Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein told reporters.

The Trail Blazers are having their own issues and also are underachievers with an 18-26 record.

Portland lost to the Warriors in last season's Western Conference finals but resides in 11th place in the conference with the season slightly more than half over.

The Trail Blazers shook things up with a weekend trade in which they acquired Trevor Ariza along with fellow forwards Caleb Swangian and Wenyen Gabriel from the Sacramento Kings for swingman Kent Bazemore, forward Anthony Tolliver and two second-round draft picks.

Star guard Damian Lillard said he is hoping Ariza can fit in seamlessly and help prompt a turnaround.

"I think he can really help us," Lillard told reporters. "I think the situation that we're in -- 18-26, not where we planned on being -- things haven't been working out, we haven't been winning a lot of games. His experience, his skillset -- 3-and-D, he can guard, pretty much, four positions -- and his size. It gives us something we can really use and hopefully, it can really help us."

The trade, in addition to shooting guard CJ McCollum's absence due to an ankle injury, left Portland with just eight available players for Saturday's 119-106 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lillard scored 34 points but the real eye-opener was reserve guard Gary Trent Jr., who scored a career-best 30 points on his 21st birthday.

Trent was 12-of-18 shooting -- including 5-of-9 from 3-point range -- and played through an upper respiratory illness that led him to receive an IV on Friday night.

"I was very happy Gary Trent had a good game," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said afterward. "Obviously, it was one of the best games of his career. Particularly coming off an illness, I thought that was a great game by him."

Golden State has lost four of its past five regular-season visits to Portland.

--Field Level Media

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