May 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (center) splits the defense of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (left) and forward Thomas Robinson (41) in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 114-97. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
On Sunday May 11th, at 9:30 CT, the San Antonio Spurs will take on the Portland TrailBlazers in game three of this second round match-up. As the favoured 1-seed, the Spurs have had home-court advantage in the first two games of this series, and have taken full advantage of that to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
The Spurs have really shown no signs of the problems that plagued them in the first round vs the Dallas Mavericks, (sloppy ball movement, lazy defensive rotations etc.) and will be looking to snatch a road game in Portland. The Spurs were this year’s premier road team in the NBA, and were the only team to have both 30 wins away and at home.
Bovada.com has the Spurs as a 1.5 point favourite, which means very little. Such small margins are often influenced by the way the market bets, rather than what the bookies really think will happen. Therefore it is fair to assume that this game is about 50/50 either way.
Game 3 generally is more important to the home team if they are down 2-0, because 2-1 is somewhere to work from whereas no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 hole before. Look for Portland to come out ‘blazing’ (pun intended), and push throughout the game. The Spurs have less incentive to win this game, although the veterans in the squad will keep everyone focused.
If it gets out of hand early, it would not be a surprise to see Coach Popovich pull his starters, both to rest them and to let the bench get back to regular season form. Despite the improvement the bench has shown over the last two games, it is clear that they are not firing on all cylinders yet.
I would predict a close loss for San Antonio here and a potential Aldridge break-out game. He is too talented to be kept in check for this long. Hopefully I’m about to be proven wrong!