NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, November 2nd
(All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (2-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (1-1), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will kick off their home
schedule Saturday night at the Rose Garden against a tough opponent, the
defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.
The last time the Trail Blazers opened at home versus the Spurs was back on
Oct. 31, 2008, resulting in a 100-99 win for the hosts.
Portland will play three straight and five of the next six in the Rose City
and lost its season opener at Phoenix before rebounding with Friday's 113-98
triumph. The Blazers scored 40 points in the second quarter and saw three
players score 20-plus points, as LaMarcus Aldridge ended with 25 points and
both Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews added 21.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard had 18 points and Matthews grabbed
12 rebounds for the Blazers, who shot 42.7 percent and had only seven
turnovers to Denver's five. The Trail Blazers shot .636 (14-22) from beyond
the arc and ended their nine-game losing streak in the Rockies.
"I like the way we came out, I liked our demeanor at the defensive end for the
entire game," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.
Saturday's matchup between the Blazers and Spurs will feature two of the more
impressive guards in the NBA in Lillard and Tony Parker. Parker is the obvious
veteran of the two and proven winner, and hopes to lead San Antonio to its
second 3-0 start. The Spurs were 4-0 last season.
In a 91-85 victory Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers on the road, Parker
picked up the scoring slack with Tim Duncan out and posted 24 points with six
assists and four rebounds. Parker even hit the tie-breaking bucket with just
over two minutes remaining.
Manu Ginobili netted 20 off the bench, Kawhi Leonard had 15 and 11 rebounds
and Boris Diaw ended with 14 points.
Tiago Splitter filled in for Duncan (chest) at center and recorded nine points
to go along with 14 boards. Duncan was injured in the third quarter of a win
against the Memphis Grizzlies and is day-to-day. He traveled with the team to
begin a three-game trek against the Lakers, Portland and Denver.
"We didn't do anything different," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said of
playing without Duncan. "We just ran what we always run, whether (Duncan) is
there or not. If Tony was out or Manu was out, we'd run our same stuff."
Popovich will need his veteran guys again if Duncan is out because the Blazers
have enjoyed success in this series lately. The Blazers went 2-1 in last
season's series and have won 11 of the last 15 contests.
San Antonio has lost eight of nine visits to the Rose Garden.
11/02 10:35:52 ET