Portland Trail Blazers vs San Antonio Spurs: Game Preview
By Michael Rehome
The San Antonio Spurs (57-10) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (35-33) Thursday at the AT&T Center. Spurs have won 42-consecutive at home.
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With the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge in the offseason, the Spurs knew they had the player that would help bring success to the team. Aldridge being the dominate player as he was with the Trail Blazers, settling in with the Spurs took time. Over his last 21 games for the Spurs, Aldridge is averaging 21.6 points, eight rebounds and shooting 55-perecent from the field, he has brought another potent scoring option to San Antonio.
Now the All-Star forward will try to help the Spurs capture the NBA’s second-longest home winning streak to open a season Thursday night against his former team. After leading the Trail Blazers in scoring in each of the past five seasons, Aldridge made the jump to sign with the Spurs in July, surprising to some in Portland.
With a highly successful system already in place, the 10th-year pro seemed to ease into his role with the club before coming on strong in recent weeks. He averaged 15.9 points in November and December, 16.7 in January, 20.5 in February and 24 so far in March.
With Aldridge settling in, he and Kawhi Leonard have become a deadly two-man combo for the Spurs. Leonard had 20 points and Aldridge contributed 17 in Tuesday’s 108-87 win over the Los Angeles Clippers that pushed San Antonio’s home record to 33-0.
Nov 16, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots the ball as Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (right) and point guard Damian Lillard (left) defend during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
With a win Thursday against Portland, the Spurs can move past Orlando’s start in 1995-96 and also get within four of breaking Chicago’s league-record 37-game run–the same season the Bulls set a historic record with 72 wins.
A lot of attention will be on Aldridge when he meets his former team. At home, he is as dominate as the team themselves. Over his last seven games at the AT&T Center, 25.7 points on 58.6-percent shooting.
Damian Lillard and Portland have played their way into a tight race with Houston and Dallas for the Western Conference’s final playoff spots. Over his last three games, Lillard whom has been on a tear over the last month has slumped by averaging 19.1 points on 39.1 percent shooting.
The Blazers shot a season-low 34.1 percent from the field while allowing a season-high 59.0 mark in Monday’s 128-94 loss at Oklahoma City – their fifth in seven games.
Blazers are entering the AT&T Center where the Spurs have shot 50.6-percent over their last 23 games and also rank near the top of the NBA holding opponents to 43.2-percent shooting.
The Spurs have won the first two meetings verse the Blazers this season. On November 11th in Portland, Spurs won 113-101. Aldridge led the way with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting in his first return to Portland since signing with the Spurs. November 16th, Spurs defeated the Blazers 93 to 80 at the AT&T Center. Leonard finished with 19 points.
Blazers and Spurs are scheduled to tip at 8:30PM Easter on NBA TV.