Trail Blazers vs San Antonio Spurs Preview
Last time the San Antonio Spurs came into the Rose Garden, they were standing alone at the top with a 40-7 record. That hasn’t changed since then, The Trail Blazers defeated the Spurs 99-86 in February thanks to an incredible 40 point effort by LaMarcus Aldridge that started his All-Star campaign. The Spurs are still holding the best record in the NBA at 57-14 and will maintain the number one seed in the Western Conference come playoff time. But the Spurs are dealing with awful news that a big part of their Big Three, Tim Duncan, will be out “indefinitely” with an ankle injury. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for San Antonio.
For Portland, this is another chance to not only climb higher in the playoff standings, but take a 2-1 lead in the season. The Portland Trail Blazers (41-30) will look to take advantage of no Duncan hovering in the paint. Aldridge with or without Duncan posted an amazing 40 Pts and shot 16-23 from the field with 11 Reb, 3 Ast, and 2 Stl. He owned the fourth quarter and left the Spurs shocked and awed. Andre Miller was on fire as well with 9 Ast and 18 Pts. Wesley Matthews scored 21 and the rest of the Blazer squad helped out as well with terrific defensive and energy all around. Manu Ginobili lead the Spurs with 17 Pts but Tony Parker was held to only 6 Pts, again from the Blazer defensive, mainly in the fourth.
For the rest of the Spurs, their roster is one of the most effective in the league. Everyone will try to contribute in one way or another. Aside from the Big Three, you’re looking at a-reborn Richard Jefferson, guard George Hill will look to score, DeJuan Blair and his knees made of bone and gum is somehow an offensive rebounding monster and can take the reigns of an absence Duncan. San Antonio will look to post up as many points as possible, as they are 6th in the league scoring 103.6 points a game. They also only allow 97.3 points from the opponents. The Spurs are stock piled with three-point shooters and can hit them when they want to.
The keys for Portland to take a 2-1 season lead is to keep their defensive like they did last time. Allowing Parker to only 6 Pts, no free throws or three pointers made was HUGE, and this was without Gerald Wallace or Marcus Camby. Without Tim Duncan, the Spurs will have to rely on Manu and Parker for scoring. The Blazers will need to have anyone on their best game possible, most importantly Nic Batum and Rudy Fernandez. The three ball has to be there tomorrow. Our bench will need to contribute as well as San Antonio’s bench might be doing more of the scoring. Wallace, Wesley Matthews and Aldridge could post big numbers in the paint tonight as well.
Prediction: Blazers keep up with the Spurs and gain control throughout the game. I would hope that LaMarcus Aldridge has another 40 point game but they should learn from last time that they will need to buckle down on him. This is where everyone else comes in. We will need five or six Blazers in double figures, and the defensive will need to be spot on tonight. Portland wins 99-92.
photo courtesy of nba.com/blazers