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GIF Breakdown: Spurs at Blazers Game 3

The Spurs continued their domination of the Blazers in Game 3. They jumped on them from the start, Portland fought back to take the lead for 17 seconds before the Spurs controlled the rest of the game, weathering a couple of runs and responding with runs of their own. Let's check out some of the plays that stood out in this game.

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The previous two Breakdowns started with the first score of the game, and I don't think we should change what's working. Here's Tony Parker working a pick and roll with Tiago Splitter. Robin Lopez looks to contest a Tony shot, but with LaMarcus Aldridge having to account for Tiago, Tim Duncan is left wide open right next to the basket for an easy bucket.


This Kawhi kid is gaining confidence quickly. Here we see Leonard recover a jump ball, dribble down the floor, go behind his back to lose Nicolas Batum, and then Kawhi connects a one-handed 10-foot jumper.


Manu Ginobili can sometimes see into the future. It doesn't always work, see: turnovers, but sometimes it's a thing of beauty. Here he sees Tiago Splitter scoring, so he zips a pass from the break to the opposite side elbow to Tiago, who takes one dribble before waltzing through the lane for a layup. It's amazing how many times Duncan has sent one of the Blazers to the ground. Old man strength I guess. @He's a wrecking ball out there.@


LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers do a better job of defending the really high-screen for Manu than they did during the last game. LaMarcus stays a couple of feet inside the three-point line this time and Will Barton is in the middle of the free throw line instead of at the elbow like Mo Williams in game 2. LaMarcus remembers that Manu wants to go left and keeps good position, so Manu makes the right play, kicking it out to a deadly long-distance shooter, but unfortunately the humidity in Portland was messing with Manu and Marco's telepathic connection and Marco jumps right just as Manu makes the pass to where Marco had just been. This was just enough to let Barton get back and force Marco to put the ball on the floor. Fortunately for the Spurs, Marco gets this one to go.


Just a little bit of deception from San Antonio to get Marco Belinelli a good look from the top of the arc. Beli sets a screen to free Baynes, but the play is for him. He runs up to the top of the arc, taking off just as Baynes is in Wes Matthews' way. Boris Diaw sets another screen, Patty Mills makes the solid pass, and Marco knocks down the trey. Calm but deadly execution.


Manu works off a high pick from Aron Baynes again, and the Argentine kicks out to Boris Diaw, who goes all Aggressive Boris on Dorell Wright. Bobo respects Wright's closeout and just drives to the hole, defender glued to him the whole time, with no intention of passing the ball. He muscles his way into the lane and gets a tricky layup to go, high off the glass.


When Danny Green beats your team off the dribble from half-court, you're doing it wrong. Lookin' good, V3RD3.


Sometimes it just goes your way. Patty bricks a decent look and the rebound comes off so sharply that Tim is able to get a hand on it, despite being boxed out by two Portland defenders, and tips it to that fantastic Frenchman, Boris Diaw, who shows off his BBIQ with an excellent fake and finish for the and-one, and surely just annoying Lopez to no end. Hand slaps all around!


Kawhi's been scoring once or twice a game from the post in this series. Here he backs down the much smaller Barton from the three point line, turns over his left shoulder and takes a one-handed short jumper. His release point is much too high for Barton to get to Whi's shot. Easy points.


I'm not going to show you the the shot where Tim Duncan passed Karl Malone to become fifth in all-time playoffs scoring. I'm going to show you the play right after. Duncan plays Damian Lillard farther away from the basket than would be ideal, but he doesn't want to give up an open mid-range look as Dame runs a pick-and-roll with Thomas Robinson. After Lillard makes the pass to Robinson, Duncan is able to get back to the rim to contest Robinson with a little bit of help from Splitter, and Robinson is forced to attempt a circus shot. He misses and Timmy makes the one-handed rebound, finishing the successful defensive play.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 40 minutes on Saturday night. He did not take any plays off and he did all of the little things - setting screens, altering shots and making outlet passes. He's the base of it all, and he's still really, really great at basketball. To the Timeless One, I'm glad you moved up the scoring list, but I'm happier that you just want to win and will do whatever you can to help your team do just that. You are the consummate teammate.


Good to great - the way of the Spurs.


The second half of the GIF Breakdown is here.