San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers Preview: TV info and Expectations
By Albert Pérez Oyola
The San Antonio Spurs face off against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center during their second regular season matchup.
The San Antonio Spurs are coming off an encouraging victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves and now take their game on the road to battle the Portland Trail Blazers. This game signifies another early test on how the team measures up against a Western Conference team vying for a playoff spot.
Getting some final prep in before we hit the road for Portland. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/UY5bn3fB0D
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 19, 2018
The Spurs won two out of three games versus the Blazers during the 2017-18 NBA season. LaMarcus Aldridge had big games in all three outings scoring 22, 28, and 30 points respectively against his former team – and they still don’t possess a player that can stop him.
During the Timberwolves victory, the Spurs showed they’re here to compete and absolutely have the necessary assets to hang with anyone in the West.
The Blazers are coming off a solid victory versus the LeBron-led Los Angeles Lakers, where their starters struggled all night, but were uncharacteristically saved by their bench. This is something new for the Blazers, given that for a few years they’ve shown an over-reliance on their starters.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 20
Time: 9:00 p.m. CST
Location: Portland, OR
Venue: Moda Center
TV Info: NBCSNW, FSSW
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
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The Spurs must do everything in their power to contain the C.J. McCollum (21 points vs. Lakers) and Damian Lillard (28 points vs. Lakers) dynamic duo, as the rest of the Blazers’ offense depends on what comes from their productivity on that end.
However, the team did get surprising production from newcomer Nik Stauskas from the bench. The likelihood of Stauskas scoring 24 points off the bench once again is extremely low, but the Spurs can’t sleep on him from the perimeter.
This matchup will offer an important test for Bryn Forbes defensively as he’ll have his hands full guarding Lillard and McCollum all night. Bryn held his own against the Timberwolves, but point guard Jeff Teague still managed to drop 27 points on the night.
More importantly, this game should open up for DeMar DeRozan and Aldridge. The Blazers’ best defensive players are forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and reserve Evan Turner. Aminu will mostly defend DeRozan and Rudy Gay, but they don’t necessarily have anyone to cover LaMarcus, so it’s safe to look for him to have a big performance – especially given the fact that he takes special enjoyment in torching this particular squad.
What to expect
Expect DeRozan to remain aggressive, especially if the game remains close in the fourth quarter, as he’ll continue to look to take over late. However, the ball should mostly be in Aldridge’s hands.
As discussed before, the Blazers simply don’t have a player that can guard him one-on-one and will be forced to double-team him every time he touches the basketball.
Back on the court… again, #Spurs vs #Blazers tomorrow.. asked Gasol what makes Portland a difficult place to play and win…said the environment and fans make it tough pic.twitter.com/YMyyK7A6pG
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) October 19, 2018
It’ll be interesting to see if Forbes can keep on producing from the lead-guard position and embrace his willingness to make plays for his teammates. Davis Bertans will continue to have a green-light from deep, although he showed he’s more than a three-point shooter by playing great defense and making smart basketball plays.
Center Jakob Poeltl may get the start again, but the Spurs get better ball movement with Pau Gasol on the court. It’s really a win-win situation for the team and an ideal problem to have this early in the season. Either player makes their own unique contributions for the Silver and Black.
The Spurs are mainly trying to improve their chemistry this early on. It still feels strange to go out there not expecting to see Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard, but this team has lowkey tremendous potential, even with the recent injury problems.
The Spurs are here to make some noise within the Western Conference and this game should provide a glimpse to that commitment.