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Inside the Victory: Spurs 118, Blazers 103 (Spurs 3-0 series lead)

Behind 29 points from Tony Parker Friday, the San Antonio Spurs took a 3-0 series lead with a 118-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, in Portland. Like they performed at home, the Spurs were able to jump out to a 20-point lead by halftime, with a quick start in the first 24 minutes, and though Portland brought the Spurs’ lead down to seven in the second half, San Antonio held on for the double-digit victory once more. Here were a few keys in the Spurs’ win.

“He’s really playing a whole complete game.” – Popovich on Parker

Parker would finish the night with 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting, as you can tell he was in a comfortable rhythm early, as he knocked down 2-of-3 three pointers. Parker also added six assists, two secondary assists, and three turnovers in his 35 minutes of play. The Blazers continued to try to give Parker jump shots, however he still shot 8-of-13 on his uncontested looks (62%).

With Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard guarding him in the first half, Parker went into the half with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting. For a good chunk of the second half, Nicolas Batum defended Parker, and Parker would finish with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting. On some possessions, Batum would limit Parker’s touches and he even forced an inbounds turnover, as he was guarding Parker full court.

Through three games in the series, Parker is averaging 26.0 points, 8.3 assists, and shooting 52% from the floor against the Blazers. Parker also has a 22.1 Net Rating, with an Offensive Rating of 113.5 points per 100 possessions, and defensive rating of 91.4 points per 100 possessions.

Though Parker is receiving a lot of the credit for his offense, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made the comment after the game of Parker’s production on the defensive side of the ball as well.

“He played great D (defense) at the other end,” said Popovich Friday (via Spurs.com), “he’s really playing a whole complete game.”

The player Parker’s being assigned to defend for a majority of the series is Blazers All-Star guard Damian Lillard, who Parker and the Spurs’ defense held to 21 points on 9-of-21 shooting Friday. Of Lillard’s 21 shots, 14 of them were contested by the Spurs’ defense, and he only made five of those contested looks.

Through three games in the series, Lillard has been held to 19.0 points, 5.7 assists, 4.3 three point attempts, and he’s shooting 37.5% from the floor in 40.3 minutes per night. Those numbers are a credit to Parker and the Spurs’ defense.

Spurs’ bench, depth, and free throws

With Mo Williams out of game three with a groin injury, the Spurs’ bench continued to do what they’ve done in the series, have an overwhelming advantage with the production they’re getting from their bench. Friday, the Spurs’ bench outscored the Blazers second unit 40-6, making the total through three games:

Spurs bench: 140 points

Blazers bench: 43 points

After game two, Manu Ginobili did say he wasn’t big on the bench stats in this series, because the Blazers are a team that aren’t very deep and play their starters more minutes to make up for the bench scoring deficit. However, even though the Blazers had four player finish with 20 or more points (Batum, Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lillard), it still wasn’t enough to match the Spurs’ depth, as San Antonio had five players finish in double figures (Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Ginobili, Patty Mills), and nine players scored five or more points for San Antonio.

The Spurs only had two players play over 30 minutes (Duncan, Parker), while the Blazers had Lilllard and Batum each play over 40 minutes, while their other starting members all had to play over 36 minutes.

Though Ginobili and Leonard didn’t have the best shooting night (6-of-18 combined shooting), they still were able to produce a large portion of their points from the free throw line, as they shot a combined 17-of-17 from the charity stripe. Friday it wasn’t just Leonard and Ginobili who were perfect from the line, as the entire Spurs team did not miss a free throw, going 25-of-25 overall.

Spurs’ bench providing first half edge

Through three games in the series, the first half domination by San Antonio has been a huge factor in why they’re holding a 3-0 lead over the Blazers. The Spurs are outscoring the Blazers 65.0 to 43.3 points on average per half. That means the Blazers have been walking into the half down by 21.7 points per game.

Parker gets credit for getting the Spurs off to hot starts as he’s averaging 15.7 points and 5.7 assists in the first half of the series, but the Spurs’ overall offense is shooting 57.9% from the field, and 58.6% from three in the first 24 minutes. On the other end, the Blazers are walking into half shooting 38.1%.

The lack of a bench for Portland is really showing in the second quarter, where San Antonio is outscoring the Blazers 36-23, as Marco Belinelli and Parker lead the Spurs in the second quarter with 6.7 points each.

(Stats via NBA.com, SportVU)

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.

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