Spurs head to Portland for Game 3
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try to claw back into their Western Conference semifinals series with the San Antonio Spurs when the two teams travel to the great northwest for Game 3 Saturday night at the Moda Center.
The Spurs have looked dominant in grabbing a 2-0 lead with a pair of double- digit drubbings. San Antonio won Game 1 by 24, then took Game 2 Thursday night, 114-97.
Kawhi Leonard, who took giant strides in last season's playoffs, scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to lead San Antonio.
"Kawhi is a young player," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He obviously looks confident. He's always playing defense. He's a good all-around player."
Tony Parker, who scored a game-high 33 points in Game 1, registered 16 points with 10 assists on Thursday as the Blazers did a much better job defending the crafty point guard, switching Wesley Matthews to him instead of Damian Lillard.
"The whole team was playing great so I didn't want to force it," said Parker. "I was just trying to be patient."
Manu Ginobili also netted 16 points for San Antonio, which had another huge first half to help set up the lopsided victory. Tim Duncan deposited 10 points with six rebounds, while fellow big man Tiago Splitter contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.
Nicolas Batum paced Portland with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds, Lillard tallied 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spurs led by 13 after the first quarter and 26 at halftime en route to a 116-92 victory in Game 1.
Portland didn't dig itself a big hole over the first 12 minutes in Game 2, but San Antonio gained separation in the second quarter. The Spurs entered the second with a 29-26 advantage, but that margin quickly grew to 17 less than four minutes in courtesy of a 20-4 run.
"The onslaught at the beginning of the second quarter was the turning point of the game," said Portland coach Terry Stotts.
Portland fought and cut the gap to eight with less than six minutes to go, but Diaw, Leonard and Ginobili all buried 3-pointers to put the game out of reach.
For the second straight game, San Antonio's bench dominated its Portland counterparts. Game 1 saw the Spurs' second unit outscore the Blazers, 50-18. Game 2 saw a slight improvement for Portland's reserves. They scored 19 points, but the Spurs once again put up 50.
The Blazers will head home and the Portland faithful will get its first taste of second-round playoff action since 2000.
"They took care of home, now we have the opportunity to do the same," said Lillard. "It's going to be tough, but we've got confidence in what we can do on our home floor. We'll be prepared."
The Blazers split with the Spurs in Portland this season, but have won two of the last three and nine of the last 11 as the host in this matchup.
Game 4 will be Monday night in Portland.
05/10 10:10:36 ET