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