Team Records: San Antonio (39-15) at Portland (36-17)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM.
Vegas Line: Portland -3.5
Refs: Tom Washington, Courtney Kirkland, Gary Zielinski
The Skinny: Well the Blazers entered the all-star break on a bit of a skid and come out to find Aldridge out for a week and the team looking to fill the gap with Aldridge, Freeland and Leonard all out. The good news is that after Wednesday the schedule gets a bit softer but the bad news is they are playing the Spurs, who, even depleted as they are, are still scary good. The Spurs come into tonight off their fourth straight win, beating the Clippers on the road Tuesday night.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers took a big lead early in the third only to see it evaporate as the Spurs rallied following Coach Pop’s ejection. Undaunted, the Blazers rebounded and secured a very impressive road win in San Antonio behind 20+ point games from Matthews, LMA and Lillard.
Projected Spurs Lineup:
PF-Tim Duncan (Wake Forest-17th Season)-15.6 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.9 APG.
SF-Boris Diaw (France-11th Season)-9.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG.
G-Marco Belinelli (Italy-7th Season)-11.3 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.2 APG
SG-Danny Green (North Carolina-5th Season)-7.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.5 APG.
PG-Cory Joseph (Texas-3rd Season)-5.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
Player to Watch-Danny Green (Pictured at right)-You can be virtually sure that when the Spurs pick up a player no one has spoken highly of before, its not a mistake. The Spurs have this amazing ability to find diamonds in the rough and Danny Green is their latest such find. Green is a solid outside shooter and a decent rebounder for a player his size. As is essential for every Spurs player, he is a fundamentally sound defender as well, rarely being caught out of position. He’s not particularly strong or particularly fast but he’ll get the job done and works well within the system the Spurs have in place.
Did You Know?: Tim Duncan has the most double doubles among active players with 789.
Song of the Day: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python-A funny classic like this one seemed appropriate after the injury news we got earlier today. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Groin), C Meyers Leonard (Ankle)
San Antonio: Out- PG Tony Parker (“Variety of Maladies”), C Tiago Splitter (Shin), Questionable-SF Kawhi Leonard (Finger)
Re-Evaluating the Spurs: Depth from Random Places
How do the Spurs keep wining even with an aging core? The answer is twofold. First, they have perhaps the best coach currently in the NBA, and second, they have insane depth at all positions. The combination means that when one Spurs player goes out, another is ready to take their place and ready to follow the Spurs system to the letter. The Blazers will need to be on their toes Wednesday and know that literally anyone wearing a Spurs uniform can hurt them at any time.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit San Antonio’s 3-pointers. When the Spurs get rolling, they kick the ball out to open shooters who make 3 pointers. That can’t happen Wednesday if Portland wants to come out with a win.
San Antonio wins if: They outrebound Portland. The Spurs are pretty much an above average rebounding team. Still, rebounds are often harbingers of what effort teams are bringing on a given night. If they can outwork Portland on the boards, they should be able to win in Portland.