Morning Rehash: Handed a Whoopin'

Lillard and company handed the Spurs one the worst losses in the last two-plus decades. - Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trailblazers delivered a historic loss to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center last night. Today's rehash highlights some of the prolific numbers and share insight on some happenings prior to tip-off.

Opening Hash

In going to the Spurs game for Pounding the Rock, one of my favorite things to do is watching the pre-game shoot-around practices of both teams. I love to watch the NBA coaches and players go to work. I never amounted to much in the game of basketball (at best, like a 5'11" Mark Madsen without the talent), but I've spent quite a bit of time coaching fighters in various martial arts. I'm a stickler for detail and I stress that the little things matter. I believe that every dedicated minute put into practice is absolutely vital to the end result (here that Iverson?). Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

I have a little note pad that I use to jot down pieces for the shoot-around portion of the Rehash but I also use it to take personal notes on player-coach interaction. That bond of teacher-student is universal and lessons can be learned regardless of the subject or profession. There are elements of how Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland coaches that I've pulled for my own benefit at the school I assist at. A big part of this is the reaction of players to the coaching they've received - i.e. "do they get it?" Sometimes you can do your best to relay a message but it might need to be described in ten different ways before the light bulb finally turns on. A good teacher/coach knows what they're talking about but a great teacher recognizes on how they need to deliver the message.

The shoot-around also offers an opportunity to people-watch the early bird fans in attendance. The Spurs typically allow groups of fans (season ticket holders, business groups, schools, etc.) to sit in the lower courtside sections to watch the teams run through their workouts. The best part is listening to the fans who've never had an experience this close to the team they love. Earlier this season, a small child squealed when he saw Tim Duncan jog out on to the court with former Spur, Sean Marks. "Look! It's Timmy Dunky!" Yes, it's adorable. But not so much when some grown men have almost the same reaction. Honestly, I may have done the same thing internally the first time I was allowed into the locker room. However, I think my reaction included a long series of expletives and the word "holy."

I'm fortunate to be in this situation as it is a rare experience that fans get to have. I'll keep writing notes, spilling my observations and opinions onto the site, meeting new people, and taking media room cookies to janieannie. I've had to be absent from the site several times in the past and I know this run can't last forever, so I'll keep enjoying this opportunity while I have it. Well, I'll try to at least.

Shoot-Around Notes

  • Patty Mills spent most of his workout, running through various 3-point drills. Ball fakes in the corner, catching the ball out of set plays, etc.
  • Mills also worked on pull-up jumpers. I kept hearing "explode into the shot" from the assistant coach. Mills was working on shooting out of dribble from both hands.
  • Damian Lillard's jumper is smooth and the ball just slowly floats through the air.
  • Lillard's workout lasted at least 35 minutes. Most players are done around 15.
  • While waiting on his coach, Lillard was bouncing the ball off the bottom of the lighthouse.
  • Portland has a structured setup similar to San Antonio. Everyone is working hard with a coach.
  • Tim Duncan was hot and cold on his mid-range looks. Tim would knock down 7-8 in a row and then consecutively miss almost the same amount.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge made 20 jumpers in a row and barley missed after his first clank.
  • On the other side, no one was missing the hoop more than Boris Diaw. It was just b-r-utal.
  • Manu Ginobili looked fresh, loose, and happy out on the court. Like Aldridge, Manu wasn't missing much from the floor.

Standard Pre-Game Pop Quote

He pretty much feels the green light. It's not as green as it was for Chris Mullin but it's pretty green. Lime green...

-Pop on Danny Green being a more consistent and productive shooter.

Quickie Game Hash

Check out Matthew Tynan's recap on how bad of a beat down the Blazers placed on the Spurs.

One hundred and thirty six. Ciento treinta y seis. Hundert und sechsunddreissig. Сто тридцать шесть.

No matter how you say it, it will make you grind their teeth. Defensively, he Spurs looked a hundred and thirty six years old chasing after the younger and much more athletic Portland team. Defenders were (very) late in rotating out on the perimeter and defense in the paint was practically non-existent at times (52 points inside for Portland). Blazers used the high screens to open up their shooters with ease and they did an excellent job at moving the ball (27 assists). "They shot the hell out of it," said Gregg Popovich after the game. "Bad combination if they're doing that and we're playing poor defense."

Portland finished the game shooting 61.6% overall from the floor, blowing by the season high mark set by the Los Angeles Clippers (55.4%) in the blowout loss earlier this season. Offensively, Portland did everything right. They got open looks all over the court, they moved the ball, they got to the line and hit their shots, and the lit it up from deep. The only thing missing was a flaming somersault dunk a la NBA Jam style.


My Game Boss

Lillard
DAMIAN LILLARD
PTS FGM FGA AST REB STL TO MIN
35 12 20 9 3 2 0 39:59
Aldridge
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE
PTS FGM FGA REB STL BLK PF MIN
26 12 18 5 1 1 2 34:16
Hickson
J.J. HICKSON
PTS FGM FGA REB BLK TO PF MIN
23 9 15 11 1 2 2 31:42

Pick one and it's the right choice.

84 points on 62.3% shooting overall and only 4 turnovers. Open shots or contested (they were mostly open). It just didn't matter. Aldridge and Hickson have historically played well against the Spurs. Now they have a little buddy in the (leading) Rookie of the Year candidate, Damian Lillard.

My Game Runt

Manu

MANU GINOBILI

PTS

FGM

FGA

AST

REB

BLK

TO

MIN

16

6

15

3

0

1

4

23:30

Ginobili had a few good moments but his overall performance was well below standard. Manu forced the action too early sometimes and was at an absolute loss on the defensive end.

By the Numbers

  • 23 - Amount of years since the Spurs allowed this many points at home.
  • 79 - Second half points by the Blazers. 46 of those came in the 4th quarter.
  • 76.4 - Percentage of the 136 team points that came from only 4 Blazers players.
  • 61.9 - Portland's final overall three-point percentage. The Blazers hit 13-21 from beyond the arc.
  • 19 - The combined margins of the Spurs three other home losses.
  • 4 - Games out of their last 5 the Blazers have scored over 100 points.
  • 13 - The difference in points off turnovers. Portland scored 19 points off San Antonio's 12 turnovers. The Spurs only managed 6 off Portland's 10 turnovers.


Odds & Ends

  • The overall series is now tied 74-74.
  • Not sure why Aron Baynes was picked to ride the bench when Gary Neal is unlikely to see floor time over the next week or two. Neal is battling several lingering issues in his left leg.
  • Patty Mills needs to develop his defensive awareness on screens. It always looks like he never saw the guy coming to set the pick.
  • Hell broke loose for the Spurs in the third quarter when Lillard took over. The rookie guard directly contributed to Portlands final 14 points of the third quarter.
  • Damian Lillard is a top ten point guard in the league already. No argument.
  • I'm 100% sure I've said this before - I never want to see DeJuan Blair guarding Aldridge ever again.
  • Kawhi Leonard's talent is accelerating faster than anyone though. Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell had a great comment about it during halftime. "I just don't know where his ceiling is anymore."
  • Kawhi... When was the last time a San Antonio Spur threw down with a leaning tomahawk dunk like that?
  • Assuming the front office of Portland manages to keep their starting rotation (mostly) together, the Blazers team would easily be a 4-5 seed in the Western conference if they could manage to get a few more quality bench players. Eric Maynor is the only player on their bench worth anything.

Bird is the Word

@eric1250espn: If Spurs lose ton and OKC beats Boston Sunday, Monday game will b 4 1st in the west.

@stachelion: Have we figured out if Matt Bonner is Canadian yet?

@Matthew_Tynan: It's good, I guess, when fans have enough confidence/are drunk enough to yell, "Hey ref, this isn't ballet, it's basketball!"

Going into the Next Game, the Spurs Need to...

...flush everything about last night from their minds. Go out Saturday night, order a few double jack and cokes, and just burn out the memories of *that* Portland game. Feast or forget. Feast on the great stuff and forget the bad stuff. San Antonio knows what they are capable of and they just need to hit the mental reset button. Especially since there is a huge home game this Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the current two-seed now only 1.5 games back of San Antonio.

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