Game Preview #5: San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Blazers

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Don't let the beauty fool you. This is going to get ugly.

Tonight, our Spurs take on my second favorite team, the Trailblazers. So from my perspective, one of my teams will win and the other will lose. I can't lose. Or should that say "I can't win"? Oh forget it, let's talk about what to expect.

The Spurs got their asses kicked last night. They didn't play an ounce of defense, which has become quite the disturbing trend. I'd try to come up with words to describe how I felt watching that debacle on TV, away from PtR, but maybe a link would be better. The 14-point spread doesn't do justice to just how badly the Spurs sucked. Tonight, they should be sufficiently pissed off to make a game of it. I'm also hoping to see some different people on the inactive list, since Finley and Bonner are not going to be useful against this team.

The Blazers have a losing record at home so far this season. Good news for us, right? Wrong. Remember how fired up Utah was last night? Apply that same energy and desire to a better team with no significant weaknesses, and you'll have an idea what the Spurs are up against. The Blazers lost at home to a team they should have beaten on Tuesday night, and haven't played since. The bad taste from that loss has had time to stew, and they'll be ready to play tonight.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trailblazers
Where: The Rose Garden - Portland, OR
When: November 6, 2009, 9:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: ESPN(National); My35(San Antonio); KGW(Portland)


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How They Stack Up
2-0 Home 1-2
0-2 Road 1-1
102.5 Offense 94.2
98.8 Defense 93.2
47.6 FG% 42.2
28.9 3-pt% 35.0
67.4 FT% 81.5
39.5 Rebounds 41.6
12.8 TOs 14.4
2-2 Last 10 2-3
Lost 1 Streak Lost 1
3rd, Southwest Position 3rd, Northwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 12:30 AM
West Coast 7:30 PM
Philippines 10:30 AM
Central Europe 4:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 4:30 AM
Least Coast 10:30 PM
Colorado/Arizona 8:30 PM
Perth, AUS 10:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 11:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 1:30PM

Spurs
(2-2)
Matchups

Blazers
(2-3)

Tony Parker
Rank Poetry

Point Guard

I don't like this, not one bit. There's one guy in this league who always seems to give Tony problems, and he now plays for the Blazers. Yes, Miller has often been like Tony's own version of kryptonite. That being said, Miller hasn't quite lived up to expectations in Portland so far, and I think Tony has learned how to beat him. Cubits vs. Blake should also be to our advantage.

Advantage: Spurs


Andre Miller
More Savvy Than the JV

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Manu Ginobili
The Rabies Sickness

Shooting Guard

This might be a controversial pick, but let's talk about these guys in terms of their importance. Manu is the second most important player on the Spurs' roster, averaging 24 mpg. Roy is averaging 38 mpg, is the unquestioned leader of his team, and actually has better per-minute averages than Manu. But make no mistake: It's very close, and I'll take Manu in the clutch over anyone. Also, Rudy Fernandez kicks slightly more ass than Roger Mason.

Advantage: Blazers


Brandon Roy
Manu 1.1

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Richard Jefferson
Princess Peanut

Small Forward

The Blazers don't have a major weakness at any postion, but SF is probably the closest they get to a weakness, especially with Nic Batum out. Martell is a very good defender, and RJ is going to have to work hard against him if he wants to be effective on the offensive end. On the defensive end, RJ and Michael Finley have their work cut out for them: Webster's very effective, and his backup is Travis Outlaw, who is an extremely efficient scorer with great length and quickness. In fact, Outlaw would make a great Spur in 2010-11. (hint hint)

Advantage: Tied


Martell Webster
Not Just Filler

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Tim Duncan
Where's My Ice Thrown?

Power Forward

The Power Forwards in the West just keep on coming, don't they? We all know Timmy is the best PF ever, but LaMarcus ain't exactly chopped liver. Great scorer, good rebounder, good passer. There are no weak points in his offensive game. Aldridge is still a bit raw defensively, but when you have two intimidating defensive mountains tag-teaming behind you, it doesn't matter too much. Timmeh will adjust, and we'll probably see him going glass a lot tonight.

Advantage: Spurs


LaMarcus Aldridge
Duncan 0.3

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Antonio McDyess
Swine Flu No More

Center

With apologies to Dice, this is one of the easiest matchups on the floor to pick. Oden and Przy are great shot blockers and rebounders, and they can be intimidating to anyone that tries to get in the lane. Oden seems to have rediscovered his quickness during the offseason, making him an absolute monster defending the paint. The guy plays good for his age. Also, Matt Bonner is going to get eaten alive on defense, so I expect more minutes for Antonio and Theo today. Maybe even a Yawn sighting.

Advantage: Blazers


Greg Oden
Oldest NBA Player?

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George Hill Twitter Noob

Bench & Role Players

George is the X-factor tonight. For us to win, he needs to play his usual lockdown D, and knock it down anytime he gets an open look at a 3. In fact, I'd like to see some lineups with Cubits playing alongside Tony. Portland's "second unit" of Blake, Fernandez, Outlaw, Juwan Howard and Przybilla is pretty damn solid. Forget Orlando - this is the deepest bench in the league, other than ours. Dejuan Blair, Bonner, Finley, and Roger will all need to be solid contributors tonight to seal a win.

Advantage: Spurs


Joel Przybilla
Not Foreign

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Gregg Popovich
Oregon Winer

Coach

This isn't a slight against Nate. He's a good coach, but he's still pretty unproven at this point. Pop, on the other hand...

Advantage: Spurs


Nate McMillan
Class Act
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

SEGABABA for us, two days of rest for them. The bench is our best hope. Advantage: Blazers

Mojo

The Blazers are off to a pretty bad start this year, and an uncharacteristic 1-2 at home. They're going to be fired up and focused on winning this game. Advantage: Blazers

Winner: Blazers

There's no reason to believe what you're about to read, it's just a gut feeling. Originally , I was going to predict a win for the Blazers, based solely on desire. But after last night's beatdown, I get the distinct feeling that the Spurs want this one just as badly. Spurs win a nailbiter, after rediscovering their defense. Prediction: 94-92, Spurs

Keys To The Game

  • George Hill - I can't overstate this: George is the key to this game. He's the only guy that's a mismatch for the Blazers at both ends. Roger, Fin, and Matt all need to make their shots, but they're also defensive liabilities against Portland's younger, more athletic lineup. George is the only shooter we have that also matches up well defensively with these guys. He had a bad outing last night - now is the time to make up for it. If Hairston is active for this game, we'll have two players out on the perimeter who can go toe-to-toe with these guys on both ends.
  • Contain The "Other" Guys - Aldridge and Roy are going to get theirs. The question is, how are we going to defend everyone else? If we can limit the effectiveness of players not named Roy or Aldridge, we'll be in good shape. That means protecting the paint. Of course, if we can defend nobody at all, like last night, we're going to get blown out of the gym by the end of the first quarter.
  • Get an Early Lead - Coming off long minutes in the Utah game last night, the guys in the first unit are probably going to have less in the tank tonight. This means that getting out to an early lead is very important, to enable the bench to come in with fresher legs and maintain the lead, instead of using our primary lineup in a tough, close struggle.

Last Time They Met

The Spurs and Blazers last met in San Antonio on April 8th, with the Spurs losing 95-83. That looks bad, but Manu was hurt and Timmy's knees were in bad condition. That one was also a SEGABABA. No highlights, since I don't particularly want to relive that game.

Some Other Reading

Blazers

Blazersedge - This is one of the busiest blogs on SBNation... in fact, they make our traffic look weak. There's lots of smart, insightful people over there, but the traffic and participation can make it a challenge to keep up. Expect a few visitors from there during the game.

Bust a Bucket - Here's the Blazers' Bloguin site, a sibling of ProjectSpurs(see below). Very slick-looking blog, and they have a sense of humor. As somewhat of a Blazer fan myself, it's highly recommended reading.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: Tim and Graydon still do their thing like nobody else on the TrueHoop Network. We're lucky to have them.
Project Spurs: These guys do a great job with multimedia content, and it's always good to get another perspective. Go say hi, they don't bite.

The (sort of) Daily Twitter

George_Hill3 Thanks for all the fans that showed up to get tickets hope y'all enjoy the game and tickets. Game is officially over

That's right, Cubits is tweeting now. And of course, Lauri and Wayne couldn't resist talking to him.

Lauri: @George_Hill3 I know someone who dressed as you for Halloween--check this out : http://tinyurl.com/ykf3m3k

George_Hill3 @Lauri who is that someone tell him to follow me and send me a tweet n he will get a tix cause I like that costume

Lauri: @George_Hill3 I'll tell him. I think you've met him. He runs the Spurs blog Pounding the Rock: http://www.poundingtherock....

poundingtherock @George_Hill3 I'm the guy in the Cubits Ninja Bot costume.

George_Hill3 @poundingtherock thanks for ur support where r u

poundingtherock @George_Hill3 in Austin, Tx. austechspur@gmail.com is the contact

tp9network Hello! I've invested this year in the French club ASVEL. My little brother, TJ, joined the club this summer. Check... http://bit.ly/47EcW2


The Magic That Happened

Nothing bad happened!

Some Other Viewing

No highlights from last night's game, since masochism isn't really my thing.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be televised nationally on ESPN for those of us in the US. Everyone else, check your local listings.

Online

As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. This one should also be on ESPN 360, if your ISP provides access to it.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to rikiddoko@gmail.com for more assistance.

Spurs League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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