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PREVIEW: Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers both shoot for 20th win

Feb 26, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) in the second half at Staples Center The Lakers defeated the Trail Blazers 102-93.. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Portland and Golden State will seek to become 20-game winners Wednesday night when the Trail Blazers host the Warriors.

Each team will be playing the first of two consecutive games to close the NBA’s first half. The Trail Blazers (19-14) will remain home to play Sacramento on Thursday, while the Warriors (19-16) will move on to Phoenix.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Blazers, check out #RipCity rumors, rankings, and news here.

The Warriors and Blazers split one-sided games in an NBA-style doubleheader early in the season in San Francisco. Damian Lillard led a 3-point assault with 6-for-10 accuracy from beyond the arc in a 123-98 Trail Blazers win on Jan. 1, from which the Warriors rebounded with a 137-122 triumph two nights later behind Stephen Curry’s 62 points.

In the usually entertaining Curry-Lillard rivalry, neither player will have his reliable sidekick for the third meeting of this season. The Warriors have played all year without Klay Thompson, who is out for the year with an Achilles injury, while the Trail Blazers have endured the past 20 games without CJ McCollum, whose fractured foot will be re-evaluated this week.

The Trail Blazers again will go without top big men Jusuf Nurkic (fractured right wrist) and Zach Collins (ankle surgery) as they attempt to build upon a 123-111 home win over Charlotte on Monday that snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak.

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Carmelo Anthony turned back the clock with six 3-pointers and 29 points off the bench. Robert Covington (21 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) and Gary Trent Jr. (17 points) also came up big on a night when Lillard was held to 23 points.

“Robert was the player of the game,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said afterward. “He did a little bit of everything. This was his best game as a Blazer. He was just terrific.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn’t generalize about his team’s most recent game, but if he had, he might have called Sunday’s 117-91 road blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers his club’s worst effort of the season.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Warriors, check out their rumors, rankings, and news here

Despite riding a season-best three-game winning streak entering the matchup, Golden State fell behind 41-21 after the first quarter and never made the game competitive.

The Warriors lost assist machine Draymond Green to a sprained ankle in the second quarter. He did not return in that game but will play Wednesday night, Kerr said.

All things considered, the coach noted after the debacle that he’d wished the whole night hadn’t happened.

“There’s going to be a handful of games every year that are sort of inexplicable, and this is one you don’t spend too much time on,” he said. “You flush the toilet, and you move on.”

–Field Level Media