Portland Trail Blazers (21-25) vs. San Antonio Spurs (14-32)
The Portland Trail Blazers had a 25 point lead against the Los Angeles Lakers at halftime on Sunday... and lost by nine. That’s not good. Losers of eight out of their last ten, Portland has just three victories in the New Year and at the moment it’s hard to see where the next victory will come from. Oh, wait! Portland plays San Antonio! Never mind.
The San Antonio Spurs come to Moda Center with just one victory in their last seven and have suffered through an 11 game losing streak already this season. Still, their only recent victory was against the Brooklyn Nets, so you can never be sure of anything in the NBA. Last time out they also played quite well at least on the offensive end, shooting 57% from the field and 54% from deep in a 131-126 loss to the Clippers. Our old friend Zach Collins had 17 points in the loss.
Trail Blazers vs. Spurs - Monday, January 23 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Justise Winslow (out)
Spurs injuries: Devin Vassell (out)
SBN Affiliate: Pounding the Rock
- Get off to a good start, finish strong. The Blazers have a bad habit of digging themselves a hole early. Sunday evening was a prime example with Portland falling behind by a score of 15-4 after less than three minutes. You just can’t spot your opponent double digits before the fans from Lake Oswego have even found their seats. As with many times when the Blazers have started out poorly the Blazers were able to dig themselves out against the Lakers and take a large lead, only to cough it up. None of that would have mattered if they had finished strong, but they scored 14 points fewer than the Lakers in the fourth quarter. It almost makes one wistful for the days when it seemed that a bad third quarter was inevitable.
- Jusuf Nurkic. After seven games in a row with double-digit scoring, Nurkic has put up six, four and two points in his last three games. That’s not going to get it done. Against Denver and Philadelphia, he at least got double-digit rebounds, but against the Spurs he only managed three. As much as Blazers fans love the energy and grit of Drew Eubanks he’s highly unlikely to pick up the scoring load when Nurk isn’t performing. When the Blazers aren’t getting offensive production from their center there isn’t really much recourse other than go small and pray a lot. Against the Lakers they basically tried to play without Nurkic for most of the game (he played less than 16 minutes) and we all know how that worked out in the end.
- Lots of points. Why is San Antonio 14-32? They can’t stop anyone. Last place in opponents field goal percentage as well as three point percentage, they give up a ton of points. And yup, they’re in last place in that too. The door is open for Portland to score. Lots. They just need to do it.
What Others Are Saying
Shams Charania of The Athletic writes that the Spurs in general and Jakob Poeltl in particular seem to be at the center of NBA trade talks. (Subscription required)
However, one organization emerges every deadline as a key hub for the entire NBA. This season, it could be San Antonio. Spurs center Jakob Poeltl has gained significant trade interest from teams such as the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, according to league sources who, like all the other sources in this story, were granted anonymity so that they would be able to speak freely.
Marc J. Spears of Andscape calls Jeremy Sochan “the NBA’s most interesting rookie”.
This 19-year-old truly enjoys going to museums all over the globe. This fashion aficionado wore a lilac Indochino suit with a Van Gogh-inspired lining on NBA draft night. The self-described “citizen of the world” asked legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to dinner, and he accepted. And this NBA rookie actually cares more about playing defense than scoring.
After Dejounte Murray’s curious comments on “All the Smoke”, Marilyn Dubinski of Pounding the Rock tries to make sense of it all.
It all seems like a good story and yet another case of the Spurs developing a player into a star, but apparently Murray doesn’t see things that way. Or does he? In a recent interview on the All the Smoke Podcast, hosted by none other than the notorious Stephen Jackson (and Matt Barnes), Murray had some words about his rookie season, and it has Spurs fans divided over what his actual intentions were.