San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers Preview and Pick

San Antonio Spurs -1.5 (0-1) at Portland Trail Blazers +1.5 (0-1) 177.5 o/u 10:30 PM ET Friday, October 31, 2008 on ESPN
By Jason Green of

Tonight the Spurs travel to the Great Northwest to play the Portland Trail Blazers in an early season match up of two Western Conference teams. Both teams lost their season opener and for the Blazers it was a costly loss, as Greg Oden sprained his foot and will be out 2 to 4 weeks.

Basketball bookies are listing the Spurs as 1.5 point favorites with a total around 178. San Antonio is also posted at around -110 on various Vegas moneylines, with the Blazers getting -110 as home dogs.

The Blazers come into their first home game after getting crushed by the L.A. Lakers 96-76. In that game Travis Outlaw was the high scorer going for 18 points on 8/15 shooting. The only other player for the Blazers to score in double figures was LaMarcus Aldridge with 14 points, but he only shot 5/15 from the field. For the game the Blazers shot poorly going 29/84 for a FG% of 34.5%. The Blazers defense was hurt when Oden went out and they allowed the Lakers to shoot 37-79 for a FG% of 46.8%. The Spurs lost their opening game to the Phoenix Suns at home 103-98. The high scorers for the Spurs in that game were Tim Duncan (32 points on 13/21 shooting) and Tony Parker (32 points on 13/24 shooting). Against the Suns the Spurs shot 40/80 for a FG% of 50%. On defense the Spurs allowed the Suns to shoot 39-79 for a FG% of 49.4%.


Since it is the start of the season, lets take a look at some of the teams stats from last year from both teams. The Spurs were 28th in the league in scoring (95.4 ppg) and 14th in FG% (45.7%). The Blazers were ranked 27th in scoring last year (95.36 ppg) and 21st in FG% (44.8%). The Spurs were a better defensive team than the Blazers last year in terms of points allowed per game (90.6ppg to 96.34 ppg) and opponents FG% (44.4% to 45.1%). The Blazers were not a good rebounding team last year, ranking 20th in the league in rebounding differential (-1.01), but that should improve when Oden gets back.

In their first games the Spurs and Blazers both failed to cover the spread. Last year the Spurs had a record of 56-26 and were 37-43-2 ATS while the Blazers were 41-41 and 43-39-0 ATS. Both teams are 0-1 so far, but the Spurs lost at home while the Blazers lost on the road.

On the injury front the Spurs PF Fabricio Oberto, C Ian Mahinmi, C Anthony Tolliver C, and PG George Hill are all day-to-day and for the Blazers C Greg Oden is also listed as day-to-day but again, is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

The highly anticipated debut of Oden was short lived, as he was injured in the beginning of the Blazers first game. Without him in the middle it will open up the lane for Tim Duncan to score.

The Spurs usually have 3 offensive weapons in Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, but Ginobili is out until December recovering from ankle surgery. His loss is a big one for the Spurs and proof in their first game, as Duncan and Parker were huge going for 32 points each, but the next highest scoring Spurs player only had 8 points. If the Blazers can contain one of the 2 scorers for the Spurs they will be in good shape, as without Ginobili there is not another player who can step up and score.

A key match up in this game will be Brandon Roy and Bruce Bowen. Roy is the main scorer for the Blazers and if defensive whiz Bowen can shut him down the Spurs have a great chance to win. Without Oden in the lineup the Spurs match up well with the Blazers with Bowen guarding Roy and Duncan guarding LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Spurs have a huge advantage at PG, as Parker is a legit star while Blazers PG Steve Blake is decent, but not nearly as good as Parker. Blake is not the best defender and Parker should have no problem creating shots for himself and penetrating.

Jason’s Pick: This is a good matchup for the Spurs with no Oden. Take the Spurs to win.