AT&T CENTER – As the San Antonio Spurs seek to advance to the Western Conference Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers still stand in their way, as San Antonio comes into game five with a 3-1 series lead.
In his pregame press conference, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed his small forward Nicolas Batum’s defense on Spurs All-Star guard Tony Parker, the health standing of Mo Williams, and whether or not LaMarcus Aldridge is playing well in the series.
First was the topic of Batum’s defense on fellow French countryman Parker. “He makes him work,” said Stotts of Batum’s defense on Parker. “Obviously his length can be helpful on his drives, it can affect his shot if he pulls up, and he knows him well.”
“I think the fact that he knows him well helps not just from a game standpoint, but also from a psychological challenge.”
Asked if Batum was the one who wanted to defend Parker in the series, Stotts said yes.
“Nic wanted it,” said Stotts. “Nic loves the challenge guarding point guards.”
Mo Williams will sit out another game with his current groin injury. Asked if there’s a chance Williams could play in game six if the series shifts back to Portland, Stotts said, “I have no idea at this point.”
Against the Spurs’ defense, Aldridge is averaging 22.0 points per game and shooting 40.2% from the field through four games. According to Stotts, despite the scoring decline from Aldridge, he’s playing well overall.
“I think he’s played well,” said Stotts of Aldridge. “Unfortunately, everybody kind of locks in on shooting percentage and points, and I think that’s a little narrow minded to say that’s how a guy plays. He keeps playing, he’s out there, he helps with the defense.”
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