Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers

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The Spurs travel to Rip City to take on the mysterious Trail Blazers.

San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trailblazers

Rose Garden
11/10/12, 9:00pm Spurs Time
TV: League Pass, Local KGW, KMYS - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs travel to Portland to take on the Trailblazers in a SEGABABA. Coverage starts at 9:00pm central time in the lovely city of Portland, Oregon. Now time for a little quiz....

Raise your hand if you are intimately familiar with the Portland Trail Blazers. That was a hypothetical command. I have no idea if you are raising your hand. I am going to go ahead and assume that no one raised their hand. This team has a tendency to play under the radar, even when they are doing well. In fact a proper name for this team would be the Portland Trail Lurkers. They always seem to be on the edge of the spotlight, but never in it. Since the Spurs are about to play this team, it is high time we change that. So brace yourself for an introduction of seven members of tonight’s foe: the Portland Trail Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldridge
Position: Forward
Brief Summary: All-Star
How the Spurs can stop him:
He and another player are going to be tough to guard tonight. Stephen Jackson will probably see some time guarding him, and rightfully so. When his team loses, he is usually the stat leader. That is one way to say that "he will get his." The key for the Spurs is to make sure that what he gets is minimal.

Damian Lillard
Position: Poing Guard
Brief summary: He could be like Derrick Rose (uninjured) or Tyreke Evans. There is no weird third thing.
How the Spurs can stop him:
Yeah... here is the other player. Mr. Lillard has begun his NBA career on such a high note that he is a contender for rookie of the year. And this was a one man show before it even began. (Anthony Davis surely will have wasted a perfectly good acceptance speech if this happens.) So how do you stop a rookie point guard who is on fire? Well you draw up defensive plays that are designed to mess with his mind. For one possession he should be triple teamed. And then for another possession Tiago Splitter should play point-center. This kind of stuff will not work in the short term of course, and Portland is sure to score points during these bouts of craziness. However Damian Lillard’s is going to be so confused that each time he touches the ball he is not going to know what is coming. Will there be the dreaded triple team? Will Dejuan Blair play shooting guard? Is the Coyote going to come from the sidelines and start throwing beers at random players? The end result will be a trembling rookie guard whose nerves are totally shot. And what happens if Mr. Lillard collapses on the floor in a puddle of tears? Enter his backup Nolan Smith, natch.

Jared Jefferies
Position: Forward/HVC
Brief summary: Jorts.
How the Spurs can stop him:
He was a kind of fan favorite in New York (read: their version of Brian Scalabrine) which is where his nick name comes from. However Jorts Mr. Jefferies just doesn’t get a lot of playing time. So I am going to go ahead and say that we can stop him by not punching him in the face while he is sitting on the bench. The Spurs are a small market team, so they do not need to receive any unnecessary fines.

Nicolas Batum
Position: Forward
Brief summary: Rapide
How the Spurs can stop him:
That was not a typo, rapide is French for fast, which Mr. Batum totally is. He is also French. We have three players who are French. Why not use that to our advantage? So TP and Boris will be too busy doing things like playing basketball, but Nando will not be occupied. So Nando should spend the whole game unleashing a torrent of creative insults at Mr. Batum. Nando could spend practice time studying about Nicolas Batum’s personal life, that way the insults are tailored to sting. For example he should bring up that one time young Nicolas went to the middle school dance with his 6th grade teacher because she felt sorry for him. This strategy is straight from little league baseball. It works during those games so why not in the NBA? And of course the refs will have no idea what is going on, unless one of them speaks French. If that happens, then my bad, Nando.

Meyers Leonard
Position: Center
Brief summary: Hey man, you have two last names.
How the Spurs can stop him:
Another rookie. But Meyers is not a potential all star like Damian Lillard probably is. He looks like the kind of player destined to be a "backup Center". Not that there is nothing wrong that. So basically there is no need to try to stop him, as he is probably going to post a stat line like .7 pts 3 rebounds and 1 block. If he is the player that pushes his team over the edge, then we are in trouble. So it would be better to focus our attention on other players like JJ Hickson.

J.J. Hickson
Position: Forward
Brief Summary: Not Lebron James.
How the Spurs can stop him:
Remember back in the day when Cleveland was looking for someone, anyone to take the reins of the team post-Lebron? Mr. Hickson was one of the players who was mentioned. Of course that didn’t work out, but now he is on the Trail Blazers and doing pretty well for himself. One thing he hasn’t done well is shoot three pointers. And I know what you are saying, post players are mostly like that. But check this: last year his average was 0.0 3 pointers attempted and 0.0 3 point shots made. And the year before that he tried to make 0.1 three point shots and made 0.0. So this seems to be an unexploited weakness, that can somehow be exploited. Maybe someone can tell J.J. before the game that no one will guard him if he tries a three point shot. That shot will probably end up on highlight reels regardless of the result.

Terry Stotts
Position: Head Coach
Brief Summary: Montana Golden Nuggets
How the Spurs stop him:
Mr. Stotts was a forward for the Golden Nuggets which coincidentally were coached by George Karl. It has been a while since he has been a coach. Obviously CIA Pop holds the advantage in this contest. However there are ways to make this even more of a mismatch. For example Pop could give Mr. Stotts a wet willy just before shaking his hand at the start of the game. For at least 5 minutes Terry Stotts will be like "what the fudge just happened?" It is hard to draw up plays when you are contemplating why a coaching legend just stuck a saliva drenched finger in your ear.

Final Analysis: Even without these tactics, the Spurs got this. The Trail Blazers are not messing around this year. However if the silver and black play "Spurs basketball" then they should come through in the end.

Prediction: Spurs by 3

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Boris Diaw

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Tiago Splitter
Stephen Jackson

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: JJ Hickson

Key Bench Players
Sasha Pavlovic
Rookies #1-5


Head Coach

Terry Stotts

Portland Trailblazers perspective can be found here: Blazersedge

Game Prediction: Spurs by 3, Vegas says Spurs by 3.5

*Note, Spurs have not won in Portland in the past 7 games in Portland

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and 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. 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.

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