Programming note: Coverage of Warriors-Trail Blazers starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
The toughest test of the season for the Warriors comes Sunday night, when only 20 hours after winning their home opener they will try to defeat a playoff-caliber opponent on the road.
That's life in the NBA, according to Klay Thompson, whose 41 points powered the Warriors to a victory over the Lakers that gives the Warriors a 2-0 start to the season.
Thompson knows, however, that the Trail Blazers are a different and vastly superior team. Helping the Warriors get off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1994-95 will be exceedingly difficult.
"It's never easy going back-to-back against a good home team like Portland," Thompson said. "But it's going to be a good challenge for us early in the season."
As great as Thompson was on Saturday, teammate Stephen Curry was no less effective. He finished with 31 points and 10 assists, while holding Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin to 0-for-6 from the floor.
And now Curry is going to a building, Portland's Moda Center, where he has experienced some memorable games. Of his six career 40-point games, two have come there, including a 47-point night last April. He's averaging 40.7 points in his last three games against the Blazers.
"Obviously 2-0 is great," Curry said. "But it doesn't mean anything unless you keep pushing. We’re playing got some great teams coming up, so we've got to be prepared to play a little bit better."
The Blazers (1-1) are not very deep – their top reserve might be backup point guard Steve Blake – but they have a fabulous starting five: Oakland High product Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews at guard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge at forward and Stanford product Robin Lopez at center.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, while thoroughly pleased with his own guards, realizes the Blazers are the first of many imposing tasks ahead.
"This (is a) young backcourt we're going to be building around for the foreseeable future and we feel like they can both get a lot better – and so can our team," Kerr said. "We didn't play particularly well (Saturday), but you just saw the talent and the depth that we have, and that was enough."
They'll need that depth against a Blazers team that was good enough last season to finish 54-28, three games ahead of the Warriors.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Andrew Bogut vs. Aldridge. Though 6-7 Draymond Green likely will start at power forward, the 7-foot Bogut may be assigned to keep the 6-11 Aldridge from asserting himself on the block.
Curry vs. Lillard. Two of the league's best point guards, with Lillard, the Oakland native, always feeling inspired against his hometown team. The winner of this battle very easily could dictate which team emerges with victory.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Pound the glass. The Blazers are not a great rebounding team and through two games rank 22nd in the league.
2) Contain LA. Aldridge may be the league's most effective power forward on offense and is the key Portland's inside-out game.
3) Park on the arc. The Blazers love to shoot 3-pointers, especially Lillard, Matthews and Batum. Open looks can kill.
Warriors – F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is questionable.
Blazers: C Joel Freeland (left foot sprain) is day-to-day but listed as doubtful. C Meyers Leonard (illness) practiced Saturday and was upgraded to probable.
The teams split four games last season, but the Warriors have won five of the last seven meetings overall. The Warriors have lost eight of the last 12 in Portland.