Game 3 - Spurs at Blazers
May 9, 2014
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San Antonio (68-23) at Portland (58-32)
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Game 3 - San Antonio leads series 2-0
Tip-off: Saturday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Sportsbook.ag Line and Total: San Antonio -1.5, Total: 209.5
The Trail Blazers are looking to get back in the Western Conference semifinals when they host the Spurs in Saturday's Game 3.
For the second straight game, Portland could not keep up with San Antonio, falling 114-97. Defense has been a struggle all season long for the Blazers (103.6 PPG, 45.2% FG), and has been even worse in the postseason (112.7 PPG, 46.4% FG). On Thursday, they allowed the Spurs to shoot 53.3% from the field, including 12-of-20 from the three-point line (60%), and have now been outshot 52.0% FG to 40.6% FG in this series.
However, Portland has been a terrific home team this season (33-11 SU, 19-25 ATS) and role players usually play better at home than on the road, and that could be big for the Trail Blazers. They are also 51-31 ATS (62%) as a home underdog of three points or less since 1996. But San Antonio has been an excellent road team this season (31-13 SU, 25-19 ATS), and road favorites over the past five seasons coming off 2+ straight home wins are 38-11 ATS (78%) in games involving two winning teams.
This series has been very even in Portland since 1996 with the Spurs holding a slight 19-17 SU (18-17-1 ATS) advantage, but the Blazers have the 3-2 edge (SU and ATS) at home in the past three seasons.
For the second straight game, the Spurs showed once again that they are ready to make a run to the NBA Finals. After having six players score at least 10 points in Game 1, seven players reached double-digit scoring on Thursday. San Antonio has been an offensive juggernaut this season (105.4 PPG, 48.8% FG, 39.9% threes) while also being the best passing team in the league (24.7 APG). On Thursday, the Spurs were passing as well they had all season, dishing out 27 assists while turning the ball over only nine times.
PG Tony Parker did not come close to matching his 33 points in Game 1, but he was once again in control running the Spurs offense with 16 points, 10 assists and just two turnovers. He didn't need to score as much, because many of his teammates had big nights from the field.
SF Kawhi Leonard had 20 points on 8-of-9 FG (4-for-4 threes), five rebounds and two blocks in Game 2, while the bench contributed 50 points on a blistering 20-of-35 FG (57%) and 6-of-9 threes. SG Manu Ginobili (16 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, +11 rating) shined brightest off the bench, but SG Marco Belinelli (13 points, 4-of-5 FG, 2-of-3 threes, +9 rating) and C Boris Diaw (12 points on 5-of-6 FG, four rebounds) also contributed nicely.
PF Tim Duncan (10 points and six rebounds) and C Tiago Splitter (10 points and 10 rebounds) did not have big offensive games with 10 points each, but the pair pulled down 16 boards (7 offensive) and did a terrific job holding Trail Blazers superstar LaMarcus Aldridge to 16 points on 6-of-23 shooting. The only negative in the game for the Spurs was their dismal 6-of-14 shooting from the foul line. If they struggle to make free throws again in Game 3 on the road, that could be just what the Trail Blazers need, as they are the best shooting team in the league from the line at 81.5% FT.
If Portland can get back to playing well on the offensive end of the court (106.7 PPG in regular season, 4th in NBA), it has a chance to win the game. With their backs against the wall, the Trail Blazers will have to play more team basketball and share the ball like their counterparts are doing. The team had only 15 assists and 15 turnovers in Game 2, but has shown it can score with the best of them at home, averaging 108.0 PPG (45.9% FG, 36.7% threes) with 23.5 APG at Moda Center.
PF LaMarcus Aldridge had his worst game of the playoffs on Thursday with more missed shots (17) than points (16), but he did grab 10 rebounds. The Trail Blazers have been able to rely on him throughout the playoffs, but needed somebody else to step up in Game 2. SF Nicolas Batum tried to be that player with 21 points and nine boards, but turned the ball over five times and finished with a minus-11 rating.
PG Damian Lillard (19 points, five rebounds and five assists in Game 2) has been terrific all season for the Trail Blazers, but has had problems against the Spurs defense in this series with 18.0 PPG on 14-of-35 FG (40%) and 1-of-7 threes with nearly as many turnovers (seven) as assists (eight). San Antonio has done a great job defending Lillard in the pick-and-roll game, and he will have to make adjustments.
SG Wes Matthews (14 points, seven rebounds and four assists) and PG Will Barton (13 points on 5-of-5 FG) both were able to contribute in the scoring department for the Trail Blazers in Game 2, but Matthews posted a minus-20 rating, which was the second lowest on the team after C Robin Lopez (minus-23 rating, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks).
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