Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 2 Grades and Analysis

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 2 Grades and Analysis
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The San Antonio Spurs appear to be well on their way to a series victory after their 114-97 Game 2 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. San Antonio now leads its Western Conference Semifinal 2-0.

The Spurs dominated with a balanced scoring effort, as seven players reached double figures, and nine scored at least seven.

Kawhi Leonard led the way with 20 points in a ridiculous 8-of-9 performance. Tony Parker pitched in with a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists.

The Blazers were led by Nicolas Batum, who scored 21 points. Damian Lillard added 19, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 16.

Lillard and Aldridge had off nights shooting, and the entire Blazers team couldn't find a way to defend the balanced attack of the Spurs.

 

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Point Guard

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Parker showed Thursday that he doesn't have to score a ton of points to positively impact a game. He may have shot just 8-of-19 from the field, but his 10 assists were a big part of the crisp ball movement San Antonio rode to victory.

He also did a solid job defensively against Lillard, holding him to 8-of-20 from the field.

Really, this game from Parker mostly served as yet another reminder of the insane depth of the Spurs. Even with their leading scorer struggling, they took a 19-point lead into halftime and cruised to victory despite a slow second half.

Grade: B-

 

Tim Duncan, Power Forward

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Like Parker, Duncan didn't have a huge game statistically on the offensive end, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

But his defense inside was a big part of Portland's inability to score from the post. He and Tiago Splitter combined to hold Aldridge and Robin Lopez to 9-of-33 shooting.

Grade: C

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

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In the first quarter of Game 2, Leonard showcased why so many fans and analysts are excited about his future.

He scored 12 of his 20 points in that opening frame, and did it from all over the floor, hitting in transition, from the post and with pull-up threes.

Adding his up-and-coming offensive game to the defense he's already been known for for years makes Leonard a scary matchup in this series for the Blazers and for everyone else in the league in coming years.

Grade: A

 

Tiago Splitter, Center

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Splitter is playing a massive role for the Spurs in the postseason, and it has very little to do with the points and rebounds he's collecting. 

Thursday, he finished with 10 and 10, but his real value is seen on the defensive end.

In the first round, Splitter frustrated Dirk Nowitzki, holding him to 42.9 percent shooting. Against Portland, he's having a similar effect on Aldridge, who must be missing that Houston Rockets defense.

Grade: A-

 

Danny Green, Shooting Guard

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Green hasn't played many minutes in this series, but he's always a threat to get hot from behind the three-point line.

In Game 2, he took five threes, making two.

Grade: C

 

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard

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The third member of San Antonio's "Big Three" struggled about as bad as the first two. He finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting, but he did hit a couple big shots and handed out four assists.

This kind of play from Ginobili may not hurt the Spurs too much against the Blazers, but the Spurs will need more from him against the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City Thunder.

Grade: C

 

Bench

Boris Diaw, Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills were the other Spurs to get significant minutes off the bench, and they were fantastic. The trio went 12-of-14 from the field for 32 points.

San Antonio's unbelievable depth is probably its biggest X-factor in these playoffs, and something no team has an answer for. 

Grade: A

 

Key Player Grades: Portland Trail Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward

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Long gone are the days of dropping 40 on the Rockets for Aldridge. Against the tight interior defense of Splitter and the Spurs, Aldridge is having a rough go.

In Game 2, he shot 6-of-23 from the field on the way to 16 points.

For most of the game, it was Splitter drawing the assignment, and Aldridge had basically no airspace on any of his attempts.

Grade: C

 

Damian Lillard, Point Guard

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Lillard is struggling against the defense of the Spurs as well. Thursday, he scored 19 points, but it took plenty of shots to get there, as he shot of 8-of-20 from the field.

Parker is doing a good job on the ball, but even when he gets beat, San Antonio's help defense is rotating quickly and cutting off Lillard's driving lanes.

If Portland's star guard can't figure out a new way to attack, or get really hot from the outside, the Blazers may have a fork in them.

Grade: C+

 

Nicolas Batum, Small Forward

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Batum was one of the better Blazers in Game 2, scoring 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds.

His efforts as a scorer were somewhat offset by his team-high five turnovers, but with everyone else missing left and right, Batum's buckets were much needed.

In Game 3, he'll need to bring the same aggressiveness on offense, plus a lot more defense on Leonard.

Grade: B

 

Wesley Matthews, Shooting Guard

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Matthews played a very solid game on both ends of the floor for Portland. At one point in the third quarter, it looked like he was going to singlehandedly bring the Blazers back into the game.

He finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists.

He was also excellent defensively, splitting his time defending Ginobili, Parker and Green.

Grade: A-

 

Robin Lopez, Center

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Lopez was an understated bright spot for the Blazers in the series opener, but couldn't get much going in Game 2.

He finished with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting against the defense of Duncan.

Grade: C-

 

Mo Williams, Point Guard

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Portland's regular sixth man pulled a groin after just nine minutes in Game 2. He left with four points on 2-of-3 shooting.

The Blazers have failed to reach 100 points in each of the first two games of the series, and things could get even worse if they lose their first option off the bench.

Grade: C

 

Bench

The two players who got the most minutes off the bench were Thomas Robinson and Will Barton.

Robinson struggled, going 1-of-4 from the field for two points. On the other hand, Barton was a bright spot, as he scored 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

Grade: C+

 

What's Next?

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It might be darn-near impossible, but the Blazers need to figure out some way to at least slow the Spurs down offensively.

For the Spurs, continuing to move the ball and trusting everyone in the system could lead to more points and another blowout.

Game 3 is set for Saturday, May 10, at 10:30 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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