Fast Forward: Curry, Lillard set to do battle in Oakland

Fast Forward: Curry, Lillard set to do battle in Oakland
January 26, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Portland's Damian Lillard has made only two fewer treys (134-132) and is shooting a higher percentage from distance than Stephen Curry. (USATSI)

Programming note: Blazers-Warriors coverage begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)

OAKLAND – After losing on their home court to the mediocre Timberwolves, the Warriors did as they have done on several occasions this season. They watched the incriminating video, which provided considerable evidence of individual and collective deficiencies.

“The film doesn't lie,'' second-year forward Draymond Green said. “We needed that.

“We came out, got our work done and look to bounce back (Sunday).''

The nearly one hour session preceded an hour of practice for the Warriors' next opponent, the powerful Trail Blazers (33-11), who invade Oracle Arena tonight. For the Warriors (26-18), this represents a test of will.

[RECAP: Love, T'Wolves hold on to beat Warriors]

“Rather than talking about it, letting guys see it first-hand, recognizing what we're doing at times and what we're not doing,'' coach Mark Jackson said. “We look forward to the challenge (Sunday) and getting back to who we truly are.''

That is the question for the Warriors. Who are they?

Are they, at heart, a bunch of jump-shooters that occasionally apply defense? Are they tough enough to play ferocious defense on a semi-consistent basis?

More likely, the Warriors still don't know who they are. The franchise for so long had the richly deserved reputation of high-octane offense and shabby defense. The current Warriors, while much improved under Jackson, still can't seem to shed the ways of the past.

[REWIND: Warriors' defense rests in loss to Wolves]

They must if they are to have a chance against Portland. The Blazers have a wonderful inside-out offense, with great spacing and splendid passing. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge can be dominating inside, while guards Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews, and even small forward Nic Batum, bomb in 3-pointers.

“There are challenges all throughout their lineup,'' Jackson conceded.

“You never want to put yourself in a position where a team like Portland – one of the top teams in the league – is your bounce-back team,'' Green said. “But we made our bed, so we have to lay in it.

“Nobody's jumping off a bridge. We've just got to back to the Golden State Warriors that we've grown into – not the old Golden State Warriors who just tried to outscore teams.''

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: David Lee vs. LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge's eyes light up at the thought of abusing Lee on the low block. The fact is Lee can't contain Aldridge without plenty of help. That means Andrew Bogut will have to be active and avoid foul trouble. Otherwise, Aldridge could go for 40.

Stephen Curry vs. Lillard. It's the first-time All-Star starter against the young-gun point guard who deserves an invitation. For all the chatter about Curry's 3-point shooting, Lillard has made only two fewer treys (134-132) and is shooting a higher percentage. And, moreover, he loves to put on a show in his hometown of Oakland.

[POOLE: Warriors' Barnes mired in epic slump]

LAST 10: Warriors 5-5, Blazers 7-3.

SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors swept the Blazers last season but took a 113-010 loss in the first meeting this season, Nov. 23 at Oracle. The Warriors have won 11 of the last 19 meetings, and 14 of the last 17 in Oakland.

INJURY UPDATE: C Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) is practicing but listed as out. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and G Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring) are out indefinitely.

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