Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers

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San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers 9:00 CST February 1, 2011

The Spurs won game one of the season series against Portland by the comfortable margin of 95-78 on December 12 in San Antonio. It was the offensive floor where George Hill impressed this time; scoring 22 points while taking merely 9 field goals. Hill connected on 9 free throws and 3 treys. My scouting report discusses the Blazers offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses.

The area the Spurs enjoyed the most significant advantage in this game was at the free throw line. San Antonio made 22 of their 26 attempts, compared to Portland’s 7 of 11 shooting from the line. Although teams typically draw more fouls at home (and do almost everything else better in their own building), the Spurs could hope to have the edge in free throws in this contest as well. On the season, Portland has attempted 106 fewer free throws than their opponents (1040-1146). The Spurs have an even greater disparity, but in their favor, 1196-946.

The Spurs will begin another road trip tonight, but they will be facing Trail Blazer team that is even more depleted than the one they met in December. Roy, who actually did play in the previous meeting against the Spurs is out indefinitely. Marcus Camby, who grabbed 13 rebounds to go with 3 blocks, is also unavailable for tonight. Nicholas Batum does seem likely to play. (Who knows when the Spurs will get Bonner back.)

As great as Roy has been in years past, this year’s hobbled version did not have nearly the same impact. In the Spurs game, he shot 4 of 16, scoring 9 points in 31 minutes. In all 23 games Roy has played this season, Portland has a 10-13 record. In the 24 games he missed, the record is an impressive 15-9. It seems this team is one of those clubs that always tends to outperform expectations (and always face significant injury problems).

One thing that is vital to consider for this game is the vast improvement of LaMarcus Adridge, almost immediately following his ho-hum performance against the Spurs. In his last 22 games, Aldridge has posted averages of 25.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG (4 offensive) while committing a still respectable 2.4 TOPG. His FG% was 52% and he attempted 6.4 free throws per game in 40 minutes of play (all would be career highs by a large margin).

In addition to Aldridge, Miller is still pivotal to Portland’s success. If they don’t bring the good stuff, the Spurs could have their hands full even without facing Roy and Camby.

Key Statistics

SRS ranks:

Portland: 0.42 (15th)
San Antonio: 7.58 (1st)

Key Player Statistics (courtesy of 82games.com (effective January 19, 2011) and basketballvalue.com (effective January 31, 2011):

PlayerFraction of teams minutesPER minus Counterpart PEROn court +/-per 48 minutesOff court +/-per 48 minutes2 Year Adjusted +/-
Aldridge0.85.73.2-10.66.9
Matthews0.67-20.7-0.2-5.8
Miller0.664.94-6.55.7
Batum0.61-3.8-1.33.1-4.2
Camby0.552.80.50.41.4
Fernandez0.4103.3-1.6-0.6
Roy0.44.82.8-1.20.2
Cunningham0.39-10-2.52.3-0.8
Mills0.24.3-5.41.9N/A

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Miller, Matthews, Batum, Aldridge, Camby +8 in 323 (1.2 per 48)
Miller, Matthews, Batum, Aldridge, Cunningham -31 in 100 (-14.9 per 48)
Mills, Fernandez, Matthews, Aldridge, Cunningham +13 in 59 (10.6 per 48)

The Pick

Spurs

The Trail Blazers have impressed in the absence of Roy and Oden this season, but they are still an average team. The Spurs, meanwhile, have been relatively healthy and have played in another stratosphere. The fact that this game is played in Portland could make it testing, but the Spurs are reasonably likely to get off to a good start on this 9 game road trip.

  • Hobson13

    I would also add that while the Trailblazers are a very good defensive team, the absence of so many key players makes it very difficult for them to score against good defensive teams. If the Spurs score in the low to mid 90’s and don’t get blown up on the defensive end, then we should be able to pull this one out even though the Blazers are a decent team (16-7) at home. Although Aldridge and Batum will play, both appear to be banged up a bit. I wonder if that will come into play. Anyway, we really need this game to kick off the RRT.

    P.S. I’d love to see Blair play the same kind of defense on Aldridge as he did Stoudamire.

  • jwalt

    Both Boston and LA lost the game preceding the one against each other. Will the Spurs be looking ahead to Thursday? Easy to say they won’t be, but who knows?

    Portland is a tough place for visitors. If the Spurs are focused they are clearly the better team. But where will their focus be tonight?

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  • zain

    I think camby is out for this game so that really diminishes their defense. should be an easy game once we shut down aldridge…

  • DorieStreet

    I saw the Celtics-Blazers game/Portland hung tough due to their defense and offensive rebounding, but Celtics was ahead most of the game. Aldridge has carried this team, averaging nearly 40 minutes and putting up numbers that should make him an allstar on Thursday. Spurs must keep TOs down and limit their second shots (Portland had 26 more attempts than Boston). Don’t let Fernandez & Batum shoot uncontested 3’s—Perimeter D!

  • Flavor

    I was watching the KSAT 12 news @ noon and they showed Duncan walking to the plane, limping, or as they said, “favoring” his left knee…. Hmm… rest for Thursday?

  • ITGuy
  • Mark

    I’ll be at the game tonight in the second row rooting for the Spurs!!!

  • agutierrez

    On an unrelated note: it is being reported that both DeJuan and Gary N. have been selected for the Rookie/Sophomore challenge at the All Star Game. Good for them.

  • Sam

    agutierrez,
    I agree, I think that will be something to watch for during all-star weekend. Also, if Dejuan Blair has half the game he had last year it will be fun to watch for Spurs fans.

  • Bruno

    OMG somebody need stop Aldridge, he made 6-9 14 points in first quarter

  • Matt in OC

    Don’t mind Aldridge as much as I can’t stand these homer-comentator piss ants. Watching a blazers telecast…

    If he says Blair is a thug, or calls Aldridge “LA” one more time, I’m gonna puke.

  • Ryan

    Meh.. throw the towel in.. tonight’s just not our night. Offense doesn’t seem to be flowing at all, the basket has to be the size of a marble, and we can’t buy a foul even if we tried..

    Gary … where are you?