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Warriors-Trail Blazers Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- While Stephen Curry looks to set an NBA record and help the Golden State Warriors build some momentum heading into the playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers hope to avoid ending a disappointing season tied for the longest losing streak in franchise history.
On the verge of setting the mark for most 3-pointers in a season, Curry also can help the visiting Warriors hand the Trail Blazers a 13th consecutive loss in Wednesday night's regular-season finale.
Golden State (46-35) is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2007 and Curry is a big reason why. The fourth-year guard ranks among the NBA leaders, averaging a career-high 23.0 points and shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range. He needs two more made 3s to break the NBA single-season record of 269 set by Ray Allen with Seattle in 2005-06.
"If you actually do the math on it, it's pretty crazy of a number," Curry said. "It's nice to be close. It means you're healthy and playing in pretty much every game and shooting the ball pretty well."
After going 9 for 15 from beyond the arc and scoring 47 points in a 118-116 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, Curry finished with 35 while going 7 of 13 from 3 in Monday's 116-106 win over San Antonio.
"He's in an unbelievable groove right now, and we just want to keep him that way for the playoffs," said teammate David Lee, who added 12 points and 11 rebounds against the short-handed Spurs.
With his ankle issues of the past no longer a problem, Curry also is averaging a career-high 6.9 assists and his average of 3.5 made 3-pointers per game leads the NBA. He's totaled 61 points and gone 10 of 20 from 3-point range in two games against the Trail Blazers (33-48) this season - both wins.
Golden State, which can record its first season sweep of Portland since 2005-06, will get the Western Conference's sixth seed with a win or with a Houston loss at the Lakers. A loss, coupled with a Rockets' victory, however, drops the Warriors to seventh.
The Trail Blazers are one defeat away from matching the club-record 13-game losing streak from Feb. 12-March 4, 1972. Portland, which started four rookies in Tuesday's 93-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, has dropped the last 12 by an average of 14.5 points.
Rookie Will Barton had a team-high 17 on Tuesday for Portland, which shot 41.1 percent and struggled to run to keep up with the Clippers' up-tempo pace.
"It was tough, but we had to try and keep more composed than what we were, but we couldn't seem to do that," Portland rookie forward Joel Freeland said.
Plagued by injuries to starters LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, Portland also will try to end a franchise-record seven-game home skid in which opponents have averaged 105.9 points on 50.9 percent shooting.
One bright spot for the Trail Blazers continues to be guard Damian Lillard, who leads all rookies averaging 19.0 points and already topped Curry's NBA's single-season record for made 3-pointers by a rookie (166 in 2009-10) with a franchise-best 183.
Lillard, who was held to 12 points Tuesday, has totaled 53 and shot 9-of-15 from 3 against the Warriors. The Oakland native scored 37 and made 7 of 12 3-pointers in a 103-97 loss at Golden State on Jan. 11.
Updated April 17, 2013