Portland Trail Blazers (31-23) vs. San Antonio Spurs (26-27)
The Portland Trail Blazers head back out on the road to face the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. Portland has lost four of its last five games, mostly recently falling by one point to Boston. San Antonio should provide a good opportunity to get back on track. The Spurs have lost six of their last eight including a 117-112 loss to a short handed Toronto Raptors team on Wednesday.
Friday, April 16 - 5:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out)
Spurs injuries: Trey Lyles (out), Gorgui Dieng (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Pounding the Rock
Damian Lillard will sit out this game with a hamstring strain. Derrick Jones, Jr. will start.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard (hamstring) will sit out tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 16, 2021
Coach Stotts says that Derrick Jones Jr. will be inserted into the starting lineup with Damian Lillard out vs. Spurs— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) April 16, 2021
What To Watch For
- Three point differential. The Blazers shoot and make a ton of threes. Their 42.2 attempts and 16 made threes per game put Portland second in the league in both categories (Utah is first). The Spurs are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They rank second to last in the league in both categories with 29.2 attempts and 10.5 made threes per game. Expect the Blazers to outshoot San Antonio. If they don’t, they could be in for a rough night.
- Can Damian Lillard get back on track? Lillard scored 28 points and added 10 assists against Boston, but he shot below 40 percent and had five turnovers. Over his last six games, Lillard has averaged only 19.5 points on 35.9 percent shooting—far below his season long 28.7 points on 44 percent shooting average. The Blazers need Lillard to get back to the level of play that put him in this season’s MVP conversation.
- A healthy roster. With Zach Collins the only Blazer on the injury report Portland’s roster is now essentially what it will be for the remainder of the season (barring future injuries and a lifting of Jusuf Nurkic’s minutes restriction). It will be interesting to see if Terry Stotts starts to firm up of his rotation as we head into the final stretch of the season. Will Nassir Little get more minutes at SG? Will Anfernee Simons continue to see minimal playing time?
What Others Are Saying
Charlie Thasseus of Pounding the Rock expressed his frustration with this Spurs season after their loss to Toronto:
I just need them to pick a lane. Right now we’re getting the worst of all worlds. The Spurs aren’t winning basketball games. They’re not playing fun basketball to watch. They’re not committing fully to developing our youth. They’re not seriously competing for anything AND they’re not seriously out of it yet. It’s like we’re stuck in purgatory and every time I tune in to watch this team I can’t divorce this existential nightmare from actual guys on the court and I spend most games waffling back and forth between ironic detachment and earnest disappointment.
Josh Paredes of Air Alamo wrote about the benefits of Lonnie Walker’s return:
Lonnie Walker is fourth on the team in 3-point percentage overall at 36.4 percent, but his value lies in more than just his outside accuracy. Walker’s ability to space the floor is crucial on a team full of other slashers like DeMar DeRozan, Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, and Keldon Johnson.
It’s appropriate that the day after LaMarcus Aldridge’s sudden retirement announcement the two franchises he impacted the most are facing off. Here are some relevant articles from Blazers Edge and Pounding the Rock about Aldridge’s retirement:
- Dave Deckard remembered Aldridge’s time with Portland.
- Marilyn Dubinski put together some highlights from LA’s best games for the Spurs.