Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Postgame Grades and Analysis
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The San Antonio Spurs appeared to be in championship form during a 116-92 drubbing of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Tony Parker led the domination with 33 points and nine assists, making Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews look helpless on defense in the process.

Parker didn't do it alone, though.

Marco Belinelli led a huge effort by the reserves, scoring 19 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting. Kawhi Leonard added 16, and Tim Duncan had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldridge did what he could to avoid the beatdown, scoring 32 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Lillard went for 17. But Portland's high-scoring duo didn't get much help. They put up 49 points, compared to 43 from the rest of the team. 

 

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Point Guard

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Parker came alive during Game 7 of San Antonio's first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. He's still alive.

In Tuesday's series opener against Portland, Parker terrorized Lillard, who had no answer for the drives and mid-range jumpers of the Spurs' point guard. Then, when Portland put Wesley Matthews on Parker, well the clinic continued. It just shifted to being about attacking a bigger defender.

Parker finished the game with 33 points on 13-of-24 shooting and added nine assists.

He was also great defensively, helping to stifle the typically explosive Lillard and helping the machine that is San Antonio's defense to run smoothly by making all the necessary rotations.

Grade: A+

 

Tim Duncan, Power Forward

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Charles Barkley talked about the Spurs age in the pregame show, and it may catch up to them in a series against the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers, but there was no sign of that on Tuesday.

Not even from San Antonio's oldest player, 38-year-old Duncan, who looked plenty spry against the younger frontcourt of Aldridge and Robin Lopez.

In just 24 minutes, Duncan posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Grade: A

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

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Whenever people say the Spurs aren't athletic enough to compete for a title, refer them to Leonard, who scored, rebounded and defended both Lillard and Nicolas Batum.

San Antonio's 6'7" utility man completely dominated his matchup on the way to 16 points, nine rebounds and four steals in 33 minutes.

He showed the ability to push the ball in transition himself or finish on the break when someone else brought it up. 

Grade: A

 

Tiago Splitter, Center

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Splitter was critical in the series against the Mavericks because of his stellar defense against Dirk Nowitzki. It looks like that may be a theme in the playoffs, as he spent more time than any other Spur on Aldridge and helped hold Portland's star forward to 12-of-25 shooting.

With five points and five rebounds, he didn't post big box-score numbers, but his defense will be extremely important for the rest of this series.

Grade: B-

 

Danny Green, Shooting Guard

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Green didn't get much of an opportunity to get going in Game 1, as he played just 15 minutes and went 0-of-3 from the field.

Green's role seems to vary dramatically from game to game, depending on how he starts and how the Spurs' wealth of reserves play while relieving him.

Tuesday was just one of those nights when Green wasn't a factor.

Grade: F

 

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard

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Ginobili was the one member of San Antonio's "Big Three" who really struggled Tuesday, as he went just 0-of-6 for two points in 18 minutes. He did make up for those misses to some extent by dishing out five assists.

His line in Game 1 can be seen as a testament to the Spurs' depth. Even with their third-best player failing to make a huge impact, San Antonio still crushed a 54-win team.

Grade: D

 

Bench

Herein lies the unique strength of San Antonio. In the regular season, the Spurs bench averaged 44.4 points per game, good for first in the league. They didn't have a single player, starter or reserve, average 30 minutes. And nine different players averaged at least 8.2 points.

That insane depth was on brilliant display Tuesday, as the second unit scored 50 points on 18-of-32 shooting.

Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Aron Baynes, yes Aron Baynes, all reached double figures.

Grade: A+

 

Key Player Grades: Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, Point Guard

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It took him a long time to get going, but Lillard wound up playing an OK game, scoring 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting.

At least he was decent as a scorer. He coughed up six turnovers and had a miserable time on defense.

Lillard was helpless against Parker, putting up almost no resistance against the drives of San Antonio's point guard.

In fairness, most defenders look that way against Parker. Still, Lillard has to be better defensively if the Blazers are going to have a prayer in the series.

Grade: C-

 

LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward

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Like Lillard, it took Aldridge a long time to get going against the defense of the Spurs, specifically Splitter, but he finished with a pretty hefty line.

In 41 minutes, Aldridge scored 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Going forward, he might want to think about spending more time in the low post, as Splitter has proven quite capable of defending jump shots against Nowitzki and now Aldridge.

Grade: A

 

Nicolas Batum, Small Forward

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Portland's do-it-all point forward was excellent in the first round against the Houston Rockets, but he was owned by Leonard on Tuesday.

He finished the game with seven points on 3-of-12 shooting and struggled to defend Leonard on the other end.

Grade: D

 

Wesley Matthews, Shooting Guard

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The Blazers' other wing struggled as well. Matthews scored just eight points on 2-of-6 shooting and dealt with the unenviable task of relieving Lillard of the responsibility to guard Parker.

The assignment took its toll on Matthews, as he fouled out of the game trying to stay in front of the best player on the floor.

Grade: D+

 

Robin Lopez, Center

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Aldridge and Lillard didn't get much help from their supporting cast Tuesday, but you can't really point the finger at Robin Lopez.

He was his typically energetic self on the boards and on defense, as he logged 11 rebounds, 10 points and two blocks in 28 minutes.

Grade: B+

 

Mo Williams, Point Guard

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Portland's sixth man fits the theme of role players being unable to step up in Game 1. He shot 3-of-11 from the field and scored six points.

He was also picked apart on the other end by the former Blazer Mills, who may have had plenty of Portland fans thinking what could have been.

Grade: D

 

Bench

Only two other Blazers played at least eight minutes. Thomas Robinson grabbed three rebounds in nine minutes. Will Barton scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting in eight minutes.

Grade: D+

 

What's Next?

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The Blazers have a ton of adjustments to make, but chief among them has to be finding a way to slow Parker down. They may need to think about double-teams, zones or some other special schemes. Any of those would be a huge risk against the Spurs execution, but the alternative doesn't look good either.

The Spurs just need to continue what they've been doing over the last two games of the playoffs, blowouts against the Mavericks and Blazers. They're moving the ball extremely well on offense, taking good shots and rotating beautifully on defense.

Game 2 is set for Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.


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