So, we have all been witness to the greatest shot in Portland Trail Blazer history. The point guard we waited for all these year arrived in force this year and proved all of our wishes true. Damian Lillard stood up and was clutch. And now that series is over and we head back to Texas for a meeting with the Western Conference Champion Spurs. A team that, some might say after the Lakers, is our oldest rival in the modern era of the Association.
Many fans remember the Sean Elliot three point heartbreak. Matching up against the towers of The Admiral and Tim Duncan. And more recently the streaky showmanship of Ginobli and leadership of Tony Parker.
Going into this series the coaching staff will be looking to find the weakness in the armor of San Antonio. Where can we strike and what areas do we need to parry them away from?
1. Wear their stars out early.
The three aging veterans will keep up but eventually Duncan will show age and need for rest. The fast the game starts off the sooner he sits. They are a Tony Parker team once that happens and at that point it will play to our strengths. We have to move quick and transition before they get set. The Spurs know how to play Defense with or without Duncan. So, strike quick and keep them off their rhythm.
2. Make the right adjustments.
During the season we saw at times that when Damian struggled with a larger veteran point guard Coach Stotts would swap Wesley Matthews over to take that player on and contest them physically. Lillard is getting better everyday, but if he starts getting out worked by Tony Parker then the swap must be made quickly. Rotating man and switching zones during the game may keep him off his rhythm as well.
3. Abuse the front court match ups.
If you take our front court of Batum, Lopez and Aldridge against the Spurs Leonard, Splitter, and Duncan which would you take. I think its safe to say that we have an athletic, physical and skill advantage and need to strike with that. Bumping them with Lopez, overpowering the rebounding with the combo of our towers and being overall aggressive offensively should keep their guards from heating up.
4. Don't fall into the trap of chasing Ginobli.
Overall he's a black hole when it comes to the ball in his hands. He will throw up garbage and occasionally make it. Don't get caught chasing him in the chaos he causes because all it does is free up the front court and allow Parker and Green better looks. I'd rather have Ginobli air-balling threes than Parker getting open looks.
5. Don't get out coached by getting spooked out of the game plan.
The coaching staff and players have executed superbly all year and the defense is getting better with each game. Keep up that momentum!
This series has the potential to be just as big as the last! It's been fourteen hard years for fans. So let's stand up #RipCity
! Get loud when they walk in onto our court. Remind them why teams hate coming to the Northwest. Go Blazers!
By Jed Duffield,
Blazer Fan & Editor at #GetSome Elite Gaming