Warriors look to shake off Blazers ahead of break
The Golden State Warriors are on a roll, but they want it to continue for one more night.
The Warriors stretched their winning streak to five games with a hard-fought 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night in Oakland, Calif. All that stands between the Warriors and a six-game tear heading into the All-Star break is a Wednesday night date with the Trail Blazers in Portland.
"That week off will be nice, but we have to finish the job," said Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who scored 24 points against the Jazz. "We want to finish on a high note. We have to go up to Portland and get a win."
Golden State broke open a tight game against Utah with a late 20-4 run, but Curry liked that the Warriors held a 25-14 lead after one quarter.
"We won the game with our defensive effort in the first quarter," he said. "(The Jazz) came back, but we set the tone early. We've been having some terrible first quarters lately, but we rectified that tonight."
Golden State has won 16 of its past 17 games overall and also is riding an 11-game winning streak on the road. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring (119 points per game), field-goal percentage (.493) and assists (29.5 per game), and they rank third in 3-point percentage (.385).
Warriors coach Steve Kerr is trying to incorporate center DeMarcus Cousins -- who returned last month after rehabbing from Achilles tendon surgery -- into the starting lineup. Cousins made only 4 of 17 shots from the field against Utah but contributed 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. He is averaging 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in his 11 games.
Portland returns home after back-to-back road losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Blazers, who have dropped three of four overall, are only 10-15 on the road but 23-8 at Moda Center this season. The Golden State game is their only home date in a 10-game stretch that continues through March 5.
The Blazers fell 120-111 on Monday at Oklahoma City go to 0-3 this season against the Thunder. Portland is 1-7 against the top three teams in the West, including 1-2 against Golden State and 0-2 against Denver.
"You want to at least split (a season series) with a division opponent if it comes down to home-court advantage in the playoffs," Portland point guard Damian Lillard said. "That was taken away from us (Monday). So for that reason, you put a little more on it. Tough loss."
Blazers coach Terry Stotts continues to tinker with his rotation after the addition to Rodney Hood a week ago. Hood scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench against Oklahoma City.
"It's going to be a challenge for everybody," Stotts said of more players deserving of minutes. "It's going to be a challenge for me; it's going to be a challenge for the team. We had a rhythm to what we were doing, and that rhythm has been broken.
"Everybody is just going to have to be patient. One night it's going to be one thing, and maybe the next night it won't. That's just the way it's going to be until it changes."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 13, 2019