The only time the Portland Trail Blazers have come back from a 2-0 series lead was their 1977 NBA championship run.
And while power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and point guard Damian Lillard would love to see their ride through the postseason end in a title, they’ll first have to figure out how to slow a much more seasoned San Antonio Spurs squad in Saturday’s Game Three at Moda Center.
Counting the regular season the Spurs have now won four straight over Portland, and in their last three meetings in the playoffs they lost only one game dating back to the 1992-93 season.
The Spurs have managed to shoot better than 50 percent overall from the floor in the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals, and followed up their 7-for-16 performance from the three-point line in Game One with a 12-for-20 barrage in Game Two’s 114-97 win.
Much like each of their deep playoff runs in the Tim Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich era, a different player as stepped up at the right time in this series. In Game One point guard Tony Parker scored a game and postseason-high 33 points with nine assists, and followed up with 16 points and 10 assists in Game Two.
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Spurs shooting guard Marco Belinelli poured in 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including three three-pointers in Game One, and complemented Manu Ginobili’s 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in Game Two with another 13 points. And second-year forward Kawhi Leonard has again shined in the postseason, netting 20 points, five rebounds and two steals in Game Two as well.
Alrdridge and Lillard have certainly tried to keep games close, but their shooting numbers have spiraled downward. The 6-foot-11 Aldridge is averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds in the series, but has shot 37.5 percent from the floor. Lillard has especially struggled from three going 1-for-7 in the series, but he did regain better ball control with one turnover in Game Two compared to a whooping six in Game One.
Forward Nicolas Batum picked up his output with 21 points and nine rebounds in Game Two, but his game-high five turnovers reduced his impact. Reserve guard Will Barton was a bright spot off the bench in Game Two with 143 points on 5-for-5 shooting, and could apply pressure in Game Three to make Parker work more on defense.
Portland’s team defense has also forced only 20 total turnovers, eight of which came in Game Two.
Start Time: 10:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream Info: A live stream is available at Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: San Antonio -1.5
Over/Under: 209 points
Prediction: Portland over San Antonio 104-98