Warriors-Blazers: What to watch for

Warriors-Blazers: What to watch for
March 25, 2012, 5:31 pm
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If theres been a surprising aspect of the Warriors season,its been their improvement on the road. After going just 10-31 away fromOracle Arena last season, the Warriors are 9-13 on the road this year. GoldenState has won four of its last six road games.The Warriors will try to improve on that stretch Sundaynight when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the Rose Garden. Manyconsidered the Blazers a lock to make the playoffs this season, but theirseason went sideways about a month ago and the franchise ended up firing coachNate McMillan.Portland has lost 10 of its past 14 games. Golden State canpull even with the Blazers in the standings if it beats PortlandSunday.Here are some things to watch for during theWarriors-Blazers game:Thompson-Batum: Warriors rookie shootingguard Klay Thompson is coming off a career-high 31-point game against the Kingson Saturday night. The Blazers have one of the better perimeter defenders inthe league in Nicolas Batum.It seems apparent Batum will likely defend Thompson at times, and that shouldbe a challenge for Thompson. Batums length can often give wing playerstrouble, and it will be interesting to see how Thompson plays going up againsta top-notch defender.Defending Aldridge: Now that the Warriorsno longer have Ekpe Udoh traded to Milwaukee as part of the MontaEllis-for-Andrew Bogut trade they have a weakness when it comes to guardingcompetent scoring power forwards.The responsibility of defending Aldridge will likely fall inlarge part to David Lee, but hes not as effective as Udoh in the role oflow-post defender. Its worth keeping an eye on how the Warriors defendbig-time power forwards (Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, etc.) not thatUdoh is no longer in the fold.Jenkins opportunity: With Nate Robinsonsstatus for tonight unknown, it could be big minutes for rookie point guardCharles Jenkins. Robinson strained his right hamstring on Saturday nightagainst the Kings and did not return.If Robinson cant go, the Warriors are down to only onepoint guard and thats Jenkins. Look for Jenkins to get significant minutes, and his job will be to takeare of the ball, run the team and take what the defense gives him.

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