Riding a league-best seven-game win streak, the San Antonio Spurs are set to host the Portland Trail Blazers with some added fuel to the matchup.
Since All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge departed from his first NBA home in Portland, Oregon, the Blazers and San Antonio Spurs have been linked in conversation. Though the details of Aldridge’s fractured relationships in Portland were kept mostly under wraps, it was clear that tensions arose between the seasoned veteran and a young Damian Lillard.
Those issues have since been cleared up and Aldridge has repaired his relationship with the new face of the franchise. San Antonio dropped both of their previous matchup against the feisty Blazers and will face a lineup featuring Enes Kanter for the first time.
To add fuel to the fire, Lillard surpassed Aldridge on Portland’s All-Time scoring list just one game ago. Being the class act that he is, Aldridge gave encouragement and congratulations to his former teammate.
Still, these aren’t the same Spurs that Portland defeated twice earlier. With Jakob Poeltl inserted to the starting lineup, head coach Gregg Popovich has slotted Aldridge back to his natural power forward position. This has enabled the organization’s star to expand his offense and conserve his body heading into the postseason.
Portland star @Dame_Lillard has surpassed LaMarcus Aldridge for second on Trail Blazers' all-time scoring list with 12,565 points. Clyde Drexler the leader at 18,040 points.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 16, 2019
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San Antonio’s offense has opened up tremendously, but the defensive intensity is what has set the Spurs apart from the pack. Over the course of their current win streak, the Spurs are posting the No. 1 Defense and No. 6 offense in the NBA, as per Paul Garcia/Cleaning the Glass.
Both Derrick White and Bryn Forbes will have their hands full with the two-headed dragon of Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland’s backcourt. The defensive skill that White has displayed in his sophomore season is astonishing; the same can’t be said for Forbes.
The Michigan State product gives maximum effort but his size and frame (or lack thereof) make him an easy target for opposing guards. With this in mind, the Spurs need to be smart about their rotations over screens as McCollum looks to create three-point opportunities for himself.
The game is set to tip off at 7:30 P.M. CST at the AT&T Center and will be shown on Fox Sports Southwest.