|SPURS||Manu Ginobili 18.8||Tim Duncan 9.4||Tony Parker 6.9|
|BLAZERS||LaMarcus Aldridge 21.0||Marcus Camby 11.3||Andre Miller 7.1|
The San Antonio Spurs begin a nine-game road trip with the league’s best record and a comfortable lead atop the Southwest Division, they will look to snap a four-game losing streak tonight when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers, who will be trying to avoid their first three-game home losing skid in almost three years.
The Spurs (40-7) typically use this annual Rodeo Road trip to work out problems and use it as turning point of the season. This year they must use it to keep their focus and maintain the pace they are at. They have won three straight and 11 of 12 while reaching 40 victories in the fewest games in franchise history.
The Spurs are league leaders and are currently enjoying one their best seasons but one major concern is defense.They are allowing opponents to average 99.9 points on the road compared to 94.7 at home. In their last two road victories, they gave up more than 100 points. Obviously the team’s main goal should be to get better defensively towards the end of the season and into the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Trail Blazers (25-22) has struggled offensively over the last two games, losing 96-81 to Sacramento on January 24 and falling 88-78 to Boston last Thursday. The Blazers have shot an average of 38.1% from the field in those games.
Portland has not lost three in a row at the Rose Garden since March 29 to April 6, 2008.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense — Aldridge has been playing well lately and he will have ample support from their backcourt. Also, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez can score on a given night.
Defense — Limit Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Hill and Richard Jefferson’s dribble penetrations, contain Tim Duncan inside the paint and guard the Spurs’ perimeter shooters.
Spurs — Matt Bonner – marrow edema (day-to-day)
Blazers — LaMarcus Aldridge – hip (day-to-day)
The Blazers have been struggling lately but they have a chance to right the ship against the Spurs, they will definitely try their hardest to stop the bleeding and get a big win over one of the league’s elite teams. However, the Spurs will be equally determined to open their road trip on a winning note. The Spurs will win this 103-96.
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