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Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs Preview

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The Blazers take on the Spurs on the road after both teams had close victories.

Portland Trailblazers v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (2-1) at San Antonio Spurs (2-0)

October 28, 2019 - 5:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out) Jusuf Nurkic (out), Pau Gasol (out)
Spurs injuries: None
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Pounding the Rock

The Portland Trail Blazers closed out a nail-biter of a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, 121-119. Though the Blazers struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, following a largely absent Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum pulled them through to the second half alongside strong performances from Rodney Hood and Kent Bazemore. Lillard still managed 28 points, including the go-ahead bucket, while McCollum paced the team with 35 points.

The San Antonio Spurs are coming off of a close victory over the Washington Wizards 124-122. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 27 points and nine rebounds. A late shot from DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 26 points, sealed the victory for the Spurs.

What to watch for

  • A bounce-back for Whiteside? Hassan Whiteside has to make a comeback following his rough performance against the Dallas Mavericks, where he struggled to find a rhythm shooting. He finished 2-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line for a grand total of six points before fouling out. He showed a lot of promise in the first two games.
  • Kent Bazemore. His stat line in the game against Dallas doesn’t tell the whole story. The guy was everywhere, and his energy — like his teammate Mario Hezonja — is contagious. His length will come in handy over the course of the season.
  • The absence of Zach Collins. Collins left the game against Dallas with a dislocated left shoulder. Many of the Blazers’ hopes have been riding on Collins’ ability to make a jump this season, and his first starts have been good, if not show-stopping. Skal Labissiere should be able to step up, based on the reports out of training camp, but how this new wrinkle will change the feel on the floor remains to be seen.

What they’re saying

Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News asked Demar DeRozan about coming up clutch against the Wizards:

“I just love the moment,” he said of coming up big in crunch time. “I don’t think about mistakes. I don’t think about my previous three quarters, if I was struggling or if I was hot. It’s a different type of game in those last five or six minutes and the game is close. You’ve got to think that way.”

Over at Pounding the Rock, CharlieOCharles discusses how the Spurs are changing their pursuit of offensive rebounds over past seasons:

After finishing last season with the lowest offensive rebound rate in the league, this year’s team has pulled down 33.3% of their available misses, far higher than at anytime in the last 15 years. While that number will certainly go down as the season progresses, there’s reason to believe the Spurs are taking a little more liberty to pursue an opportunity they’ve long forsaken in an effort to prevent fast breaks.

And at News 4 San Antonio, a viewer submitted a Tim Duncan pumpkin carving:

A viewer of News 4 San Antonio and Fox 29 San Antonio sent a photo of what could be the best jack-o’-lantern ever made.

San Antonio’s Arthur Alaquinez carved up a pumpkin with the likeness of San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan.