Western Conference Playoffs, Round 2, Game 3, San Antonio at Portland
Series Status: San Antonio leads 2-0
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on ESPN, Radio on 620 AM.
ESPN Announcers: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry and Heather Cox
Vegas Line: Pick ‘em
Refs: Danny Crawford. Marc Davis, Bennett Salvatore and Pat Fraher (Alternate)
The Skinny: The Spurs defended home court and now its Portland’s turn to do the same in a game the Blazers need to win. No team has ever come from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. The Spurs have won 18 of 20 series when leading 2-0, but it is not over yet as long as the Blazers win Saturday.
Series in Review (Home team in bold for completed games, *=If necessary):
Game 1-San Antonio 116-Portland 92
Game 2-San Antonio 114-Portland 97
Game 3-Saturday at Portland-7:30 PM (ESPN)
Game 4-Monday at Portland-7:30 PM (TNT)
Game 5*-May 14 at San Antonio
Game 6*-May 16 at Portland
Game 7*-May 19 at San Antonio
Projected Spurs Lineup (Regular Season Averages):
PF-Tim Duncan (Wake Forest-17th Season)-15.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3 APG.
SF-Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State-3rd Season)-12.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2 APG.
C-Tiago Splitter (Brazil-4th Season)-8.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.5 APG
SG-Danny Green (North Carolina-5th Season)-9.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.5 APG.
PG-Tony Parker (France-13th Season)-16.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 5.7 APG
Player to Watch-Kawhi Leonard (Pictured at right)-When the Spurs pick a player in the draft, especially when they move up to pick a player in the draft, it is pretty certain that they have another steal. Such is the case with Leonard, which has arguably been the most important player on the Spurs in the last half of the season, as the Spurs are 54-12 when Leonard plays this year and 8-8 without him. Leonard was always known as a defense-first player and he is certainly a very good defender but it is his offense that been surprising this year. Leonard has substantially improved his shooting this season and has become yet another offensive player for the Spurs to rely on. He was key in game two and can be expected to play a key role Saturday as well.
Did You Know?: Tim Duncan and Greg Popovich has been together for 220 playoff games, by far the most for any coach-player tandem in NBA history.
Song of the Day: “Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha-Beating the Spurs is not exactly an impossible dream but its certainly a very hard ask. Enjoy:
Portland: Questionable-PG Mo Williams (Groin)
San Antonio: None
Adjustments: Slowing the Spurs Deep Shooting
The Spurs are a very good team even when they don’t make their 3s but when they do they are nearly impossible to beat. The Spurs have shot 47% from 3 so far this series. Now part of this is a bit of a hot streak but it is also San Antonio’s scheme. The Spurs count on you helping off players and leaving one of their many 3 point shooters wide open. The Blazers have to avoid this trap if they want to have a chance at slowing the Spurs from deep. If they can, they certainly stand a good chance of winning game 3.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They hold the Spurs under 100. This will not be at all easy but if the Blazers can play good defense against the Spurs they should be able to get the win.
San Antonio wins if: They keep playing their game. Two fairly easy wins for the Spurs in the books, why would they change what they are doing if they want a 3-0 lead?