Warriors-Trail Blazers Preview

The Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors both underwent major overhauls at the trade deadline and the results have been about as expected.

The struggling teams face off at the Rose Garden on Sunday night.

Portland has lost 10 of 14 since the All-Star break to drop into 12th place in the Western Conference, four games behind the eighth and final playoff spot.

With the team struggling, the Trail Blazers (22-26) fired coach Nate McMillan and promoted assistant Kaleb Canales to take his place on March 15. They also traded starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace that day.

After defeating league-leading Chicago in its first game after the moves, Portland has averaged 93.8 points the last four games while giving up 105.8. It led by 12 points in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday before losing 103-96.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and nine rebounds and J.J. Hickson scored 14 in his Blazers debut, but that wasn't enough to offset a 53-29 disadvantage on the boards.

"We have got to rebound," Hickson said. "This is where the game was lost. We fought hard enough. That's the first time that coach has come into the locker room and said he admired the way we fought. We just have to get ready to play Golden State."

Portland dropped to 2-3 since Canales took over. Still, the team is able to take away the positives during a difficult stretch of games - all of which have come against playoff contenders.

"We believe in all our players," Canales said. "We came out tonight and were staying in the moment, trying to control what we can control. ... We just came up a little short."

Golden State, which is one game back of Portland, edged Sacramento 111-108 on Saturday for its second win in seven games. Rookie Klay Thompson scored a career-high 31 points, David Lee had 22 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists and the Warriors held on after the Kings turned the ball over on a late possession.

''It's a great learning experience, but it's no fun unless you win them,'' Lee said. ''You can have all the learning experiences you want and never win a game.''

It's been a difficult month for the Warriors (20-26), who traded leading scorer and fan favorite Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown before the deadline for injured center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, who was dealt to San Antonio for Richard Jefferson.

Thompson has been effective since stepping into the lineup in place of Ellis. He's averaging 20.1 points the last eight games and shot 10 of 20 Saturday.

There wasn't much depth behind Thompson on Saturday. Point guard Stephen Curry missed his seventh straight game - and 20th this season - with a sprain in his surgically repaired right ankle while backup Nate Robinson strained his right hamstring and didn't play in the second half.

Golden State and Portland have split two meetings this season at Oracle Arena. Lee has averaged 27.5 points on 61 percent shooting (25-for-41) and 8.0 rebounds in those contests.

The Warriors have won two of their last three visits to Portland after dropping four in a row there.

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