San Antonio Spurs (2-2 2-2 ATS) vs. Portland Trailblazers (2-3 2-3 ATS) Rose Garden, Portland, OR 10:30 PM EST Friday November 6, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Spurs +3 / Blazers -3
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Tonight in the Great Northwest the Portland Trailblazers host the San Antonio Spurs. Last season the Blazers were one of the best home teams in the NBA, but tonight they look to avoid their 3rd straight loss at the Rose Garden.
Both the Blazers and the Spurs are coming off a loss and neither is playing great basketball early on in the season. The Blazers are struggling on the offensive end of the court while the Spurs have not been the team that was dominant on the defensive end like they have been the last several seasons. They are still trying to figure out how to play with new swingman Richard Jefferson and how to adjust to not having defensive stopper Bruce Bowen any longer. This game is a match up of a young and up and coming team in the Blazers against an experienced team that is making one more run at another title in the Spurs.
The Spurs lost last night 113-99 to the Utah Jazz. The high scorer in the game for the Spurs was Tony Parker going for 24 points, but only shot 6/14 from the field. For the game the Spurs shot 35/81 for a FG% of 43.2%. On defense the Spurs took the night off allowing the Jazz to shoot 44/83 for a FG% of 53% including allowing Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams to combine for 54 points.
In their last game the Blazers lost to the Atlanta Hawks 97-92 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Blazers in that game was LaMarcus Aldridge going for 20 points on 9/17 shooting and he also grabbed 14 boards. For the game the Blazers shot 36/85 for a FG% of 42.4%. On D Portland allowed the Hawks to shoot 37/80 for a FG% of 46.3%.
This season the Spurs are having no problems scoring, as they rank 11th in the league (102.5), but the Blazers are since they only rank 23rd (94.2 ppg). On defense both teams are pretty even, as the Blazers rank 10th in points allowed (93.2 ppg) and the Spurs rank 13th (98.8 ppg). This season the Spurs are losing the battle of the boards with a rebounding differential of -1.2 rpg while the Blazers have the 3rd best rebounding differential in the league (+4.4 rpg).
The Blazers are a better team so far this season on the glass and the Spurs have to keep them from dominating the boards tonight. Tim Duncan and rookie DeJuan Blair have to rebound the ball tonight or San Antonio will be in trouble.
Greg Oden leads the Blazers in rebounds (9.8 rpg) and if he is a monster in the middle tonight it will give Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge room to operate.
The key tonight for the Spurs may be Tim Duncan (14.8 ppg), as if he is hitting the mid range J it will take Oden outside of the lane, which will open it up for Tony Parker (17.5 ppg) to slash and score and dish it out.
BET BLAZERS GAMES AT REDUCED ODDS
The Blazers only have two starters averaging in double figures in Roy (25.4 ppg) and Aldridge (14.6 ppg), so if the Spurs can play good D against them they will be in good shape.
PG Andre Miller was supposed to be one of the better free-agent acquisitions this off-season, but he is only averaging 8.2 ppg on 32% shooting and he has not cracked the starting lineup.
Both Steve Blake and backup PG Miller have to play good D on Parker and not let him have a big scoring game.
Last season the Blazers won 3 of 4 against the Spurs including both games at the Rose Garden.
On the injury front PF Antonio McDyess is day to day for the Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge is day to day for the Blazers.
Jason’s Pick: Even though the Blazers are only 1-2 at home this season they have the youth and strong rebounding that will give the Spurs fits. I look for the Blazers to win this game on the boards and to play solid defense. Take the Blazers and the points, as they will win this game and cover the spread.