Portland Trail Blazers (8-5) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7-6)
The Portland Trail Blazers are at home in the Moda Center once again, this time taking on the San Antonio Spurs. It’s been a rough week for Portland, losing big man Jusuf Nurkic to an injury in Thursday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, and then CJ McCollum went down in Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. Even with the deck stacked against them, the Blazers managed to pull off the win against Atlanta, and they’re looking to do it again today against the Spurs.
Monday, January 18 - 12:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, Fox Sports Southwest, NBA League Pass, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), CJ McCollum (out), CJ Elleby (day to day)
Spurs injuries: Drew Eubanks (out), Quinndary Weatherspoon (out), Derrick White (out), Keita Bates-Diop (out), Luka Samanic (day to day)
SBN Affiliate: Pounding the Rock
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What To Watch For
- Trail Blazers Defense. We saw a glimpse of what we have all been hoping to see at the end of Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. After CJ McCollum left the game with an injury, it seemed like the Blazers’ defense kicked it up a notch. In a rare turn of events, it wasn’t Portland’s top ranked offense that sealed the deal, it was the Blazers defense that ultimately led to a victory against Atlanta. If Portland can maintain that momentum and continue playing defense like they did in the second half of Saturday’s game, they could very well beat the odds and win this game.
- Enes Kanter. Kanter had a fantastic night against the Hawks, acting surprised when Blazers courtside reporter, Brooke Olzendam, informed him of just how many blocks he’d had (5—he had 5 blocks!). Kanter came back to the Trail Blazers this season after a season with the Boston Celtics. He was with Portland in 2019 in the Western Conference Finals, when Nurkic was sitting on the bench due to injury. Now, surrounded by an arguably stronger team, he finds himself in a similar position. If Saturday’s game is any indication, he seems to be up to the challenge.
- The 3 point line. Three point shooting is more and more common in today’s NBA, and it’s something Portland does well. Successful 3 point shooting has been a crucial part of the Blazers’ offensive game, and plays a key role in the team’s wins. San Antonio, however, is currently 27th in the league in attempted 3s.
What Others Are Saying
Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian pointed out just how crucial of a role defense played in the Blazer’s last game.
Stotts pointed out several key defensive factors in the game. Jones’ energy while being disruptive. He had five offensive rebounds and two steals. Jones and Trent doing a good job on Atlanta start guard Trae Young, who made just 7 of 23 shots. Kanter, not known for his defensive prowess, blocked five shots, and had two steals. The biggest defensive play of the game belonged to Lillard, who drew a charge call on Young with 15.5 seconds remaining and Portland clinging to a 108-106 lead.
The Spurs may have some young talent, but they are holding their own according to Noah Magaro-George of our SB Nation sister site, Pounding the Rock.
Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell highlighted an incredibly talented young core capable of locking down ballhandlers and dominating in transition.
Prior to getting his shot off, Anthony created space with a flurry of crafty pivots. Curry praised the veteran scorer’s slick footwork. On Twitter, the Warriors point guard said he watched the clip of Anthony’s bucket 20 times.