Despite being in the early stages of the playoffs, many Spurs fans are looking towards the later rounds and the match ups they may bring. Even though they still have the Dallas Mavericks to face, it would be comforting to have a favourable opponent up next… but this is the Western Conference Playoffs of 2014, and there are no easy teams.
As the 1 seed, following this series, the Spurs (assuming they win this round) would take on the winner of the fourth and fifth seed matchup. The Houston Rockets are taking on the Portland Trailblazers, and the lower seed currently has the 1-0 advantage. As a Spurs fan I would love to see the Blazers win that series.
As Nick Elizondo and I covered earlier, Portland is a very tough opponent, but still not as dangerous as the Rockets. San Antonio and Portland are very similar. They both have star PGs and PFs, surrounded by excellent role players including shooters, rim protecters and creative backup point guards. When two similar styles clash, generally the better coached team will win, and the Spurs have a huge advantage in that department. Terry Stotts is no slouch, but he is no challenge to the recently crowned Coach of the Year.
The best case scenario for the Spurs is a seven game slugfest that Portland wins. A win in Houston for Portland has all but guaranteed that this series is going to at least six games now and, either way, the victor will emerge much more tired and beat up than I imagine the Spurs will be. Houston is already hurting with Patrick Beverley being a constant health worry, and Portland has only just got back some if it’s reserve big men.