Spurs’ Popovich on facing the Blazers: ‘It will be a big challenge obviously’

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs eliminated the Dallas Mavericks in seven games and have advanced to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the postseason.

Portland has presented San Antonio with many problems throughout the years. Whether it be sweeping the regular season from the Spurs or just presenting mismatches, the Spurs will have their hands full.

Something Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is all to well aware of.

It is obviously one heck of a team (Portland). We had trouble with them all year long,” said Popovich. “They are very talented. They are young and energetic. Terry (Stotts) does a great job.”

The Spurs and Blazers split their regular season series 2-2 with both teams winning on each others home court. But all that gets tossed out the window come Tuesday in San Antonio.

“They know what they want to do and they are playing great basketball. It will be a big challenge obviously,” Popovich said.

Portland dispatch Houston 4-2 in their opening round series. Add the fact the Blazers have been resting and the Spurs are coming off a grueling 7-game series, and San Antonio will be presented an even bigger challenge on the court, physically and mentally.

But if San Antonio’s performance in Game 7 is any indication, they are rounding back into form at the right time heading into the Blazers series.

“Defensively we did a great job and offensively our ball movement is coming back and we’re going to need that against Portland because they’re another great defensive team,” Tony Parker said.

The Spurs and Blazers will kick their series off this Tuesday in San Antonio.