NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs Win Game 1 over Portland Trail Blazers
2014 NBA Playoffs: The San Antonio Spurs demolished the Portland Trail Blazers last night at home in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
Tony Parker played like the Parker we saw throughout the last few games of the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, as opposed to his slow start out of the gate through these NBA playoffs.
Since his son was born, Parker has been on a scoring tear. He posted 33 points and nine assists in last night’s game at the AT&T Center and was the leader for a Spurs team that easily won 116-92. Kawhi Leonard poured in 16 points and nine rebounds, Tim Duncan reached a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Even Aron Baynes and Patty Mills added 10 points each from the bench.
Brandon Goldner of Rip City Project explains what went wrong for the Blazers:
- Terrible defense on Tony Parker from Damian Lillard. I mean, just awful, awful defense from Lillard. He started on Parker, but got caught on screens like a bug on flypaper. Trying to go over the top of a screen for Lillard is like trying to do that one jump between the two buildings in the beginning of the Matrix: he just doesn’t think he can get through. There’s no other explanation for why so many other people with inferior athletic ability have little trouble treating screens as little more than an inconvenience, rather than the game-stopping wall of doom that Lillard surely sees.
- Since Terry Stotts wasn’t going to tell Lillard to just go under the screen and concede the long jumper, Wesley Matthews took a crack at him. The results, while not pretty, were slightly better… unfortunately, no matter WHO Lillard was hidden on, they were open, even if they didn’t hit their shots.
- Turnovers. 20 of them all told. And not hustle turnovers or “oops, my bad” turnovers, but really, truly ugly turnovers. Halfway through the third, Lillard was bringing the ball up, passed half court, and… just sort of lobbed the ball to no one in particular. The Spurs looked at the ball for a second like, “Is this a joke?” before taking off the other direction for some free points.
- Missing easy shots. I don’t have stats for this, but the Blazers MUST have missed at least 10 shots right at the rim, and another handful within 10 feet. Easy lay-ins would not only not go in… some of them didn’t even look like they were close. One LaMarcus Aldridge layin missed so badly he grabbed his head, as if the thought missing one more shot under the basket would cause his head to explode. I can’t say I blame him. My head was about ready to pop, too.
- Poor defensive rotation. I can’t count how many times the Spurs were stopped at the rim, only to kick out to someone who was wide, wide open. And again, this isn’t like they were whipping the ball around the whole time: it was just vanilla get-a-body-on-your-man defense that was being ignored. The Blazers usually let Robin Lopez fend for himself in the middle, and tonight you could see why. While you may be giving up a few shots at the basket, at least they’ll be contested, and at least you won’t be leaving other guys open.
The biggest factor of Game 1 between these two teams was the bench.
According to NBA.com, San Antonio has averaged 117.5 points per game through their last two games, and they have won by an astounding 23.5 points, shooting 54.0 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from three.
Lillard couldn’t drive to the lane as easily as he could against the Houston Rockets, nor was he given enough space to shoot comfortably.
Even Aldridge, who was making every shot last series, couldn’t get hot because of the Spurs’ stifling D.
Fan-favorite Aron Baynes even dominated the stunned Blazers, and you can choose him as the player of last night’s game!
But like we said, it was Parker’s night to lead the team to victory.
From Andrew Melnick of FanSided, the Spurs certainly cruised to victory and, hopefully, will do the same thing again in Game 2.
The Spurs shot 50.6% from the field and held the Blazers to just 37.8% shooting. They also forced 20 Blazers’ turnovers while giving it away just 12 times.
It was all Spurs from the get-go. They scored eight points before the Blazers even got on the board and held a 15-point lead before the quarter was over. They topped their 29-point opening quarter by putting up 36 points in the second quarter to take a 26-point lead into the break and turn the second half into a laugher.
Game 2 from the At&T Center in San Antonio, Texas Thursday night is at 9:30 EST and is on ESPN 2.