Team Records: San Antonio (5-1) at Portland (2-3)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on KGW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: SA -3.5
Refs: Ron Garretson, Nick Buchert, Derek Richardson.
The Skinny: The Blazers dug themselves a big hole against the Clippers Thursday and although they got to within four in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t get any closer than that. They will look to rebound from that defeat as they welcome yet another top opponent to Portland. The Spurs come in fresh off a relatively easy win in Sacramento Friday night and look as dangerous as ever.
Last Season: The Spurs won the season series 2-1, the Blazers had won the previous three season series between the two teams.
Projected Spurs Lineup:
PF-Tim Duncan (Wake Forest-16th Season) 17.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.2 APG.
SF-Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State-2nd Season)-10.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG.
F-Boris Diaw (France-10th Season)-5.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.4 APG
SG-Danny Green (North Carolina-4th Season)-13 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.4 APG.
PG-Tony Parker (France-12th Season)-14.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 8 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 734.
Song of the Day: “Symphatique” by Pink Martini-In honor of Batum and Parkers being from France, I thought it appropriate to use one of my personal favorite songs of all time, done by one of Portland’s best known bands and sung in French. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliot Williams (Achilles)
San Antonio: None.
San Antonio’s Game:
Everything the Spurs do, either on or off the court, seems to be designed to get the most out of the talent they have. Year in and year out, coach Popovich has his team coached up and ready to go. On offense, they constantly rotate the ball to open shooters, either resulting in a good jump shot or a drive to the basket. The Spurs are third in points per game, and have been especially deadly from deep, ranking among the league leaders this season. On defense, the Spurs manage to play tight defense without fouling, allowing opponents to shoot very few FT attempts per game. They are not, however, the same feared bunch they once were on defense, and can be beaten if you are able to take and make open shots. Although not as good as they once were, the Spurs are nonetheless a tough team and you need to play disciplined basketball to beat them.
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 Saturday 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 make it six wins in seven tries so far this season.