NBA Western Conference Playoffs: #1 San Antonio Spurs at #5 Portland Trail Blazers

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals – Game #3

#1 San Antonio Spurs at #5 Portland Trail Blazers
Spurs Lead Best of Seven Series 2-0
Moda Center – Portland, Oregon
Saturday, May 10, 2014, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: San Antonio -1 1/2
Current Line: San Antonio -1
Opening Total: 215
Current Total: 208 1/2
Opening Money Line: Spurs -125 / Blazers +105
Current Money Line: Spurs -119 / Blazers -101 

Portland tries to avoid an 0-3 series hole in game game three against the Spurs Saturday night.

Portland tries to avoid an 0-3 series hole in game game three against the Spurs Saturday night.

After the San Antonio Spurs crushed the Portland Trail Blazers 116-92 in game one of the Western Conference semifinal series, I predicted the Spurs would win in a much closer game. I was right, the Spurs won game two by 17 instead of 24! San Antonio took a 2-0 series lead with the 114-97 win Thursday night. Now the Blazers return home for game three Saturday in a virtual must win game to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

San Antonio took a 29-26 lead by the end of the first quarter in game two. The Spurs went on a 23-8 run to start the second though to take an 18 point lead. They would never be threatened again. San Antonio has outscored Portland by a combined 77-48 in the second quarters of the two games so far. The Spurs would lead at halftime 70-51. San Antonio would lead by as many as 20 as they cruised to the 2-0 series lead. For the second straight game the Spurs bench scored 50 points. In fact, San Antonio’s bench has outscored Portland’s 100-37 so far in the series.

San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and added 5 rebounds to lead the Spurs. Tony Parker scored 16 points, and also had 10 assists and 5 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 16 points off the bench. Portland forward Nicolas Batum had 21 points and 9 rebounds.  Guard Damian Lillard scored 19  points and  added 5 rebounds and 5 assists.  LaMarcus Aldridge scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich, who won his third NBA coach of the year award this season. San Antonio is 48-43 ATS and the total is 51-39-1 this season.

San Antonio is outscoring teams 105-97. The Spurs are #6 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. San Antonio is shooting 48.6% from the field and 39.7% from 3 point range. The Spurs are #2 in field goal percentage and #1 in 3 point shooting. San Antonio is #4 in free throw shooting at 78.5% from the line. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Spurs are in the top 10 in both categories. San Antonio is averaging 43.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.2 per game. The Spurs average 25.2 assists, 14.6 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.3 assists, 14 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.

Point guard Tony Parker averages 16.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game. Parker is probable with the ankle injury. Forward Tim Duncan averages 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Forward Kawhi Leonard averages 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Guard Manu Ginobili averages 12.3 points, 3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Marco Belinelli averages 11.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Guard Patty Mills averages 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Jeff Ayres, and Matt Bonner will also get significant minutes.

Portland is coached by Terry Stotts. The Trail Blazers are 47-43 ATS this season and the total is 52-37-1 this season.

Portland is outscoring teams 107-103 this season. The Trail Blazers are #4 in scoring and #22 in points allowed. Portland is shooting 45% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. The Blazers are #10 in 3 point shooting. Portland leads the league in free throw shooting at 81.5% from the line. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Blazers average 46.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.5 per game. Portland leads the league in rebounding but is #22 in rebounds allowed. The Blazers average 23.1 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.4 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge averages 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1 block per game. Point guard Damian Lillard averages 20.7 points, 5.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Guard Wesley Matthews averages 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Forward Nicolas Batum averages 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Center Robin Lopez averages 11 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Mo Williams, Dorrell Wright, Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and Joel Freeland will also get significant minutes. Williams left game two with a groin injury and is doubtful for game three.

San Antonio is 4-0 ATS in conference semifinal games, 10-3 after a straight up win by 10 points or more, 13-4 after a cover, 15-7 after a straight up win, 19-9 after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game, 3-7 against teams with winning records, 3-8 overall and against Western Conference teams, 2-6 after the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, 0-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The over is 8-3 in this series recently, including 5-1 in Portland. The Spurs have covered the last 4 games in this series.

Portland is 3-7 ATS in Saturday games, 2-6 after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 1-5 against teams with winning road records, 1-7 at home, 0-4 after a straight up loss, 0-5 after failing to cover, playing on one day rest and after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game, 0-6 against teams with winning records, after the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game, overall, against Western Conference teams, and against Southwest Division teams. The home team is 20-9 ATS in this series recently. The Trail Blazers are 10-3 ATS in the last 13 in Portland against the Spurs.

The Blazers return home to their wild and loud Rip City crowd. However, if they don’t start playing defense and rebounding better they will lose again no matter where the game is, and this will be a short series. It is one thing to beat a team like the Houston Rockets like Portland did in the first round, because the Rockets are even worse on defense than the Blazers. However, the Spurs have been playing lock down defense in the series. I think Portland wins one of the two games at home to avoid the sweep, but I would be surprised if the Blazers win more than a game in the series. This seems like a case of the veteran Spurs spanking the young Blazers  and putting them to bed.

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