El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 114, Portland Trail Blazers 97
|Tim Duncan, PF 35 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +9
Timmy hasn’t been asked to do a ton offensively in this series, but he’s been great on the other side of the ball, especially defending the rim. He’s blocking shots and deterring any penetration that comes his way while Splitter is tasked with sticking LaMarcus Aldridge out in the mid-range area. And speaking of mid-range, Duncan’s knocked down 10 of his last 19 jumpers from that area, which is a really nice development for a guy who’s struggled with his shot this season.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 28 MIN | 8-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +13
An absolute monster. When Kawhi plays like this, the Spurs have every bit as good a shot at a title as any of the other elite teams in the league. We saw it during the Finals last season: Leonard is becoming more and more confident and assertive offensively as the games get bigger, and he’s having a massive impact. We all know about his ability on the glass and on the defensive end, but Kawhi’s true-shooting mark in this series is up to 74.4 percent, and Portland hasn’t shown anything to suggest they’ll be able to keep him out of the box score.
|Tiago Splitter, C 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +14
LaMarcus Aldridge had just connected on two consecutive jumpers, assisted on a Nic Batum 3-pointer and helped cut the lead to nine points with 4:26 left in the game. Then Tiago Splitter checked back in. LMA would go on to miss his next three attempts (all guarded by Tiago) and the Spurs finished the game on a 12-4 run to secure the win. And by the way, when Splitter’s been on the floor through two semifinal games, San Antonio has held Portland to just 81.4 points per 100 possessions and outscored the Blazers by a net rating of 35.1, a team-best in each capacity. (No A+ tonight because of all those missed layups and free throws, but we’ll live with it.)
|Tony Parker, PG 38 MIN | 8-19 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +12
Really slow start, but the constant penetration got his teammates going, something that hasn’t exactly been the case during these playoffs. His 10 assists are a postseason high, and once he starting scoring as the game went on, it was just the icing on the cake.
|Danny Green, SG 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +11
Defenses are doing a great job sticking to this guy on the perimeter, but he showed during that 19-second stretch early in the second quarter how dangerous he still is if left open. A few moments of inattention and he’ll drop a couple of threes before you can blink an eye. In the 23 minutes he was on the floor Thursday night, the Spurs outscored the Blazers by 33.9 points per 100 possessions.
|Aron Baynes, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
All those early minutes in the first game and garbage time the next … you crazy, Pop. But I get it. Baynes is the kind of guy that might take a team by surprise and cause some havoc; if a team is prepared for his arrival, it might not have quite the same effect.
|Boris Diaw, PF 21 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +1
The Spurs led by only three points after the first quarter, but that lead ballooned to 12 within two and a half minutes, and it was a 7-0 personal run by Boris Diaw that set it off. Diaw played center during this quick small-ball stretch for San Antonio, and it totally paid off. Once Diaw returned to the bench, the lead was never less than eight the rest of the way.
|Patty Mills, PG 10 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +5
Not a ton of minutes because he was getting picked on a bit on the defensive end by Damian Lillard, but he made the most out of his minutes. Patty’s shot is falling after a slow Dallas series, which is a good thing; the bad thing is he’s still a guy that can be exploited at times defensively despite his great activity on that end of the floor. Besides, with Parker playing the way he is it’s tough to keep the Spurs’ All-Star off the court.
|Manu Ginobili, SG 27 MIN | 7-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +11
Manu still had a tricky time navigating the Portland trees in the paint, but the shot was falling a little more cleanly in this one. Overall another very well-rounded game from San Antonio’s spark plug off the bench. He kept the Spurs alive at times in the first round, so it’s nice to see the rest of his bench mates picking up the slack when he’s not totally on top of his game.
|Marco Belinelli, SG 22 MIN | 4-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +9
Marco has hit 11 of his 14 shots through two games of this series and has already scored more points in the second round (32) than he did in seven games against Dallas (22). And really, it’s just a matter of him actually getting space to fire away. I’m still baffled as to how the Mavs defended these shooters so well; or perhaps more specifically, how those bad defenders managed to maintain off-ball focus. That damn Rick Carlisle. Still, when Portland started making its second-half run in this game, a lot of it had to do with poor defense from that bench unit. He’s got a short leash if things drop off on that side of the ball, but he can still maintain his value with the way he’s shooting. He’s back (through two games), and that’s a big deal.
The roster flexibility and the way Pop utilizes it is so fun to watch. Great juggling job by this man, especially when the Blazers threatened late in the game.
One Thing We Saw
- Friends, I have The Margin to do in the morning. If the Spurs keep blowing these guys out I have to save my material for that. Plus it’s late…go to bed.