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Gameday: Draymond will play; Curry vs Lillard the matchup to watch

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AP

Gameday: Draymond will play; Curry vs Lillard the matchup to watch

The Warriors play their final game prior to the All-Star break Wednesday night against the Trail Blazers at Moda Center in Portland.

The Warriors (44-13) recovered from a stretch during which they lost three of four games by winning their last three, all at home, by an average margin of 27 points.

The Blazers (31-26) in their last game had a nine-game home win streak snapped with a 115-96 loss to the red-hot Utah Jazz.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 6

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Damian Lillard: Two of the most explosive scorers in history, both with deep range and the ability to take over a game. They won’t always defend each other, but either starts cooking his team usually follows. Each ranks among the top 10 scorers for the third consecutive season, Curry fourth (26.8 ppg) and Lillard (25.8) sixth. When either starts cooking his team usually follows.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (L index finger sprain) and F/C Kevon Looney (R knee soreness) listed as questionable were upgraded prior to shootaround. G Pat McCaw (L/R wrist injuries) and F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) are listed as out.

Trail Blazers: C Jusuf Nurkic (R calf strain, right oblique strain, low back soreness) is listed as questionable.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3. Blazers: 6-4.

GAME OFFICIALS

Bill Spooner (crew chief), Tony Brown, Leon Wood

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of three meetings this season, 111-104, on Dec. 11 in Oakland. The Warriors swept the four-game series last season and are 11-1 against the Blazers in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE 3 BALLS: The Warriors lead the NBA in 3-point shooting accuracy at 39.3 percent. They’re at a league-best 40 percent since Jan. 1. The Blazers rank third overall, at 37.9 percent, but since Jan. 1 have shot at a 39.5-percent clip, second best in the NBA. As good as Curry and Lillard are, their backcourt mates, Klay Thompson and CJ McCollum, are shooting 3-balls at a higher percentage.

FOCUS LEVELS: This being the final game for each team prior to the All-Star break, there is the likelihood that some players may not be fully engaged. If so, that should benefit the Warriors, who have greater overall depth than Portland.

THE FRONTCOURTS: The Warriors, with Kevin Durant and Green, have the advantage here. It’s decisive if Nurkic, a disappointment this season, sits. Starting forwards Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu are mediocre at best. Look no further than these three to see why Portland is dead last in both assists and fast-break points.

What they're saying: Happy Mother's Day 2018

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USATSI

What they're saying: Happy Mother's Day 2018

Check out how Bay Area athletes honored their mom's and the mother's of their children today!

Happy Mother’s Day!

A post shared by Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) on

Happy Mother’s Day to my 👑❤️

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

Building Raiders roster a 'team effort' for Gruden, McKenzie

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AP

Building Raiders roster a 'team effort' for Gruden, McKenzie

ORLANDO, Fla. – Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is a popular guy, widely respected among players and in NFL circles. The same can be said for his coordinators and many position coaches.

General manager Reggie McKenzie understands that. He used those assets to help recruit free agents to Oakland.

He also remains in close communication with those designing new Raiders schemes. Jon Gruden’s in charge of the offense, while coordinator Paul Guenther will install a new defense.

McKenzie is focused on getting guys they want, guys who will fit well within new schemes.

“One thing about Gruden is that I know exactly what he wants, which is great for me,” McKenzie said Monday in a meeting with Raiders beat writers at the NFL owners meetings. “I know exactly what is needed for his (offensive) system. It’s the same with (defensive coordinator Paul Guenther). I know exactly what kind of players they want at each position. That makes my job a lot easier, instead of trying to figure out what works best."

Raiders owner Mark Davis told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday that McKenzie plays a different role with Gruden in the mix, and that the head coach’s vision for the team is most important.

“That vision, and that direction is going to be helpful to Reggie more so than not,” Davis said. “I think they’ll work together very well.”

McKenzie agrees. He praised the level of communication with Gruden and his assistants and believes they executed an aggressive free-agency plan well working together.

“The communication is constant, and I’m not just talking about Coach Gruden,” McKenzie said. “I’m talking about the entire staff. It’s well-received.”

The Raiders signed 20 guys in free agency, with 16 new faces and four returners thus far, at least after Reggie Nelson’s deal becomes official in the coming days. McKenzie used the coaching staff to help close deals, and get guys they coveted.

“It’s a team effort, I’m telling you,” McKenzie said. “The good part about it, is that players want to come. Players want to be coached by our guys. When we can get coaches heavily involved in communicating with those guys and when we get those guys in the building, our coaches did a great job recruiting those (free-agent signings).”