Portland, which missed the playoffs the last two seasons after making 21 consecutive postseason appearances, is hoping to begin a new era of success under McMillan, who coached the Seattle SuperSonics to a Northwest Division title last year.
After two straight road losses to open the campaign, the Blazers have responded at home, winning three of four on their five-game stand at the Rose Garden to take the early lead in the Northwest.
On Wednesday, Portland rebounded from a tough 84-81 loss to undefeated Detroit, holding off the Chicago Bulls 96-93.
“I thought we showed a lot of aggressiveness,” McMillan said. “They are a scrappy team but I thought we scrapped a little more.”
Zach Randolph had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Portland, and is one of only four players in the NBA averaging at least 20 points and 10 boards per game.
Following Friday’s contest, the young and improving Blazers will once again be tested with a seven-game road trip.
Golden State couldn’t pull out a close game at home Wednesday, losing 90-87 to Milwaukee despite a late rally. The Warriors trailed by as many as 16 points in the third quarter before making it close.
“We just didn’t play good basketball in the third quarter,” said Golden State point guard Baron Davis, who had 11 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.
“We had chances to tie it and we and didn’t take the lead. … We’ve got to come out with a sense of urgency. A lot of times with us, that starts with mental preparation.”
The Warriors have alternated wins and losses the last six games.
“It started right from the beginning, we never should have gotten into a position like we did early on,” said coach Mike Montgomery, who has 10 players on the roster with fewer than five years of experience.
“We weren’t ready to play—it’s inexplicable—but it’s a little bit of how we are, coming off a good win.”
Golden State has won the last two meetings with Portland after dropping four in a row to the Blazers.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 17): Warriors - 2nd place, 1 1/2 GB, Pacific Division. Trail Blazers - 1st place (tied), Northwest Division.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Warriors - F Troy Murphy, F Mike Dunleavy, C Adonal Foyle, G Jason Richardson, G Davis. Trail Blazers - F Darius Miles, F Randolph, C Joel Przybilla, G Sergei Monia, G Sebastian Telfair.
TEAM LEADERS: Warriors - Richardson, 21.8 ppg; Murphy, 8.7 rpg; Davis, 8 apg. Trail Blazers - Randolph, 20.5 ppg and 11 rpg; Jarrett Jack, 4 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
LAST MEETING: April 15, 2005; Warriors, 108-88. At Oakland, Calif., the teams combined for a league-record 69 3-point attempts. Davis had 19 points and 11 assists to lead Golden State to victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Warriors - 2-2 on the road; Trail Blazers - 3-1 at home.