Amid a four-game losing streak, the San Antonio Spurs will try to get a win on the second night of a back to back as they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Despite playing a solid 48 minutes of basketball the San Antonio Spurs ultimately came up short against the Orlando Magic last night. Orlando was able to leverage a questionable 34 to 10 free throw advantage to help lock up the game down the stretch.
Now on the second night of a back to back the Spurs will try to snap their cold streak against the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s a role swap from earlier in the season when the Spurs hosted the Trail Blazers, who were coming off of a game in Dallas the night before. In that contest Portland came out strong, finishing the first quarter with a 33-19 lead. But as the game went on heavy legs set in and the Spurs were able to retake the lead in the third. Holding off a final Damian Lillard barrage would eventually secure the Spurs’ third win of the season.
The Trail Blazers have dominated NBA headlines over the past few days with their signing of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony will bring a scoring spark and forward depth to a team that had deep postseason aspirations but has struggled so far. He will join Portland on their road trip but will not make his debut with the team before their game on Tuesday, at the earliest, per an Adrian Wojnarowski report.
‘Melo’s absence likely won’t a deciding factor in this upcoming game between Portland and San Antonio but it does leave a hole in the frontcourt for Portland, that has to be something that the Spurs exploit. LaMarcus Aldridge came out slow against the Magic, missing all of his first-half shots and going into the break scoreless. He had impacted the game in other ways but the Spurs need their star player to score.
Portland’s weakness is their frontcourt. Their offseason deal for Hassan Whiteside is not proving to be as fruitful as they would have hoped. As Kendrick Perkins so eloquently put it, Pat Riley sold Portland a used Buick that needed a new transmission in dealing Whiteside to the Blazers. He hasn’t been close to the defensive stopper that they thought they were getting. Aldridge needs to go right at him tonight. It’s a lot to ask your 34-year-old start to carry your team on the second night of a back to back but that may be what San Antonio has to do.
On defense, the gameplan begins and ends with containing the Blazers star duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard. Lillard has been on an absolute tear this season but was well contained by Dejounte Murray in the first matchup between these two teams. Murray’s playing time may be more limited than usual given that he did just play last night but the Spurs will need him to make the most of the playing time that he does receive.
Spread: Spurs -1.5
Player Prop Bets:
- DeMar DeRozan: Over/Under 20..5 points, Over/Under 5.5 assists
- Trey Lyles: Over/Under 7.5 rebounds
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Over/Under 19 points, Over/Under 7.5 rebounds
- Bryn Forbes: Over/Under 13.5 points
- Derrick White: Over/Under 13.5 points, Over/Under 3.5 assists
All betting information courtesy of The Action Network.
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It doesn’t feel good to bet against the Spurs but hedge your happiness and take the Blazers in this one. San Antonio is coming off of a hard-fought game in Orlando last night, likely didn’t back to San Antonio until very late last night/early this morning and has to play a Portland team that last played on Wednesday night. As much as we all want the Spurs to pull out a win and snap their losing streak, tonight may not be the night for it.
The prop bets are pretty intriguing. The Trey Lyles rebound total is particularly eye-catching. He’s exceeded that 7.5 rebound mark in seven of the Spurs games so far and could be in for a big night. If the game gets out of hand early it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Gregg Popovich send Aldridge to the bench to conserve his legs and hand more playing time to the younger Lyles.
San Antonio has some soul searching to do. Whether it’s a shakeup of lineups, making a trade, or change in schematics the Spurs need to do something to get out of the losing streak they’ve found themselves in. They’ve got a difficult stretch of road games coming up and cannot afford to keep dropping games. The final few playoff spots in the Western Conference will come down to just a few games, close losses now will cost the Spurs dearly in April.