San Antonio at Portland
Time: 9:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: POR -6
Odds c/o 5dimes
POR TEAM NOTES
Portland has been rolling this season, and it has won six of its last 10 overall. It currently sits at No. 4 seed in the Western Conference with its 32-21 mark on the year. Damian Lillard, for his part, has been sensational this season. The All-Star is averaging 26 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.
His backcourt sidekick CJ McCollum is rounding into form too, averaging 21.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. The Blazers use its starting center Josuf Nurkic just 27 minutes a game, but he averages 15 points and 10.3 rebounds in that time, making the most of it with his high energy play.
The reduction in his time means more for Zach Collins, and the second-year big man has also looked good. Portland has gone more heavily towards its starters as the season has worn on, but it has some good talent waiting in the wings.
Collins is averaging seven points and 0.86 blocks per game in 18 minutes a night. The Blazers have good depth, and its bench is greatly improved with the better play of Evan Turner and Nik Stauskas, who has revived his career in Portland. Stauskas is averaging 6.1 points per game in his 15 minutes a night. The Blazers now seem to have the depth it has lacked in previous seasons. Could Portland put a scare into a top team? It is tough to bet against it with some depth now flanking the outstanding talent that is Lillard.
SAN ANT TEAM NOTES:
The San Antonio Spurs have won six of its last 10 games and are currently 32-24. The Spurs lead the Houston Rockets by one game in the Southwest Division standings, and this is a team truly without as much talent as Houston but it does possess one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Gregg Popovich. The Spurs replaced do-it-all forward Kawhi Leonard with 2-guard DeMar DeRozan this offseason, but this is not a Spurs team resplendent with offensive talents. LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay are both very solid strong veterans, but the rest of the roster is a rag-tag collection of players Popovich has found every way to maximize the respective talents of.
DeRozan and Aldridge combine to score 42.2 points per game, but the offense has hardly been a problem for this Spurs team which averages 112.3 points per game. Bryn Forbes has evolved into a very useful guard and is averaging 13.6 points per game, and Marco Belinelli is still a sharpshooter who thrives in the right system. The Spurs are hoping Derrick White can become a star, and he has looked good in his 22 starts this season.??Even Jakob Poeltl has found his defensive calling under Popovich and though he plays just 15 minutes a game, the Spurs utilize an 11-man rotation and call deep into its bench.