I don't see any reason why we shouldn't start this edition of GIF Breakdown with the first basket of the series. Popovich went to Kawhi Leonard in the post early on in this one and Whi made the Blazers pay for putting Wes Matthews on him. He starts to back Wes down and then unleashes a spin move followed by a one-handed banker for the score. Wes is a little undersized to handle Kawhi and his length.
This Breakdown is going to be first half heavy, because the second half didn't really matter. So, early in the first we see Tiago Splitter show hard on a Damian Lillard/LaMarcus Aldridge pick-and-pop 30-feet from the basket. Lillard has to take a long detour before passing back out to Aldridge. The best kind of defense on Aldridge is to keep the ball out of his hands and Tiago does just that by hustling back and stealing the pass. That's pretty good for a lumbering big man.
Tiago did a nice job on LaMarcus when the game was still in doubt. Here he is not giving an inch and swiping the ball away from LMA as the Portland big man tries to go to work from the right side. Splitter wasn't able to secure the ball, but that's a heck of an effort and a firm statement that Aldridge is going to have to work hard for anything he gets.
Here we see Tony Parker doing his thing. He works around a Tiago pick with Lillard going over it and then muscles his way through Lillard on his way to a really sweet right-hand layup off the left side of the glass. He puts a little French on it and the ball falls through the hoop.
This one is funny. Lillard is tasked with stopping Kawhi one-on-one in the post. It goes just about how you would expect it to go, and ends with an easy bucket for Whi. He backs up Lillard, fakes, and then gets a little banker to go. It seems like Portland should avoid this situation in the future.
Aron Baynes played meaningful minutes in a playoff game! Here he is scoring his first basket of the postseason. He fights for an offensive board and is rewarded as the ball takes a fortunate bounce into his hands. He finishes with a reverse layup and Terry Stotts decided it was time to talk things over. Timeout Blazers.
Boris Diaw is a fantastic post-player. Here he works against Dorell Wright, who just has no chance of stopping the man with as much junk in his post-game as pretty much anyone in the series. This one is fairly routine, with Boris spinning baseline before backing up Wright to the point where Diaw has a bunny and Wright can't do anything about it. I love watching Bobo go to work.
Hey, it's Boris in the post again, and look, it's Wright again. Bobo receives an entry pass from Manu Ginobili and is immediately aggressive, but he doesn't have to actually do any work this time. He spots Aron Baynes, who has cut backdoor, and makes the easy pass to the Big Banger for an easy score. What is Robin Lopez doing? He looks like a lost child.
Check out this sweet pass from Ginobili in transition. He leads Belinelli with the pass and the Italian, cool as gelato, immediately takes and makes the 27-footer in rhythm. Man, if Beli got his groove back it sure does look good for the Spurs' chances.
Here we see Kawhi and Tony on a two-on-one in transition. Whi pushes the ball forward to Tony who gives it right back so that Kawhi can throw one down. The Spurs really poured it on in the first half.
Tony Parker: Scorer, creator, spin-master, facilitator, master of all eight layups, closer, starter. What can't he do? Here he drives into the paint, spins only to be met by a double team, which means that someone is open. Tony goes airborne and then somehow finds the open man with a truly remarkable dish!. That open guy just happens to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and Tim Duncan knocks down the jumper. Big Fun!
That's it for this edition of GIF Breakdown. The second half was meaningless, unless you're Wes Matthews, who saw bright signs as the Blazers "won" the second half. See you Pounders after Game 2, which hopefully ends with another Spurs victory. This team is so easy to root for.