Warriors, Blazers face off in huge Western Conference showdown
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will carry a three-game winning streak into a crucial Western Conference matchup Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors at the Moda Center.
The Blazers are fifth in the conference standings, one game behind the Houston Rockets. Portland is just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Warriors, who reside in sixth and a win on Sunday would guarantee the Blazers no worse than the fifth seed.
"We just got to stay focused and finish the right way," said Portland guard Damian Lillard. "The good thing is that we're in the playoffs, and we got a couple of big games coming up that could determine a few changes in the seeding. We just got to stay locked in on one game at a time and end the season off the right way."
Portland earned its third straight victory in its final road game, a 111-99 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Wesley Matthews poured in 21 points to lead the Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Lillard added 16 points and six assists for Portland, which has won seven of eight.
Nicolas Batum tallied 15 points, seven boards and seven helpers and Robin Lopez contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.
The victory gave the Blazers their first-ever season sweep of the Jazz and earned head coach Terry Stotts his 200th win as a head coach in the NBA. It also ran Portland's record to 27-4 this season when it holds opponents under 100 points.
The Blazers finish their season Wednesday night with a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors are in the playoffs, but could fall down the standings with a poor finish. They could finish seventh, but not eighth and one more win this season will clinch the sixth seed. If Golden State wins out and Portland loses out, the Warriors could get to No. 5.
On Friday, the Warriors clinched a playoff berth with a 112-95 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Stephen Curry tallied an NBA-tying fourth triple-double this season and the Warriors snapped an 11-game road losing streak to the Lakers. Curry had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who have won three of their last four games.
"We know the history of this franchise, and to keep making strides toward being a perennial playoff contender, these are big strides," Curry said.
Indiana's Lance Stephenson and Chicago's Joakim Noah also have four triple- doubles this season.
Marreese Speights and Klay Thompson both finished with 16 points, followed by 13 from Steve Blake. David Lee returned from a seven-game absence with a right hamstring injury to score 10 points. Lee also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, then close the regular season Wednesday with a road game versus the Denver Nuggets.
Golden State has won two of three against the Blazers this season, including a 113-112 win in Portland on March 16 when the Warriors rallied from an 18-point deficit. The Warriors have won five of the last six meetings and two in a row in Rose City.
04/13 10:18:19 ET