Posted March 07, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
As badly as the San Antonio Spurs' homestand began - a loss to a woeful team followed by a major injury to a star player - it now appears to be going really well.
It wouldn't seem the road-troubled Portland Trail Blazers should get in the way Friday night before the Spurs - maybe even surprising themselves as owners of the league's best record - face the next-best team in the Western Conference.
San Antonio's six-game stretch at home started last Wednesday with a 105-101 overtime loss to a Phoenix team which entered with the West's worst record. Two nights later, All-Star point guard Tony Parker was lost for a month after spraining his ankle against Sacramento.
However, the Spurs won that game by 28 and have posted two more easy wins without him, defeating Detroit 114-75 on Sunday and using a dominant second half to beat Chicago 101-83 on Wednesday.
The Spurs (48-14) have maintained the best record in the NBA despite a bevy of injuries and Miami winning 16 in a row. Plus, their conference lead has grown a bit over Oklahoma City, which visits San Antonio on Monday night to end the homestand.
"We see Miami play and Oklahoma City, the amount of talent they have, the depth, they make crazy shots. And we look at the standings, and we're on top," said a seemingly amazed Manu Ginobili, who mentioned himself and Tim Duncan among the many lengthy absences San Antonio has endured.
"Tony's out now. Remarkable what we are accomplishing this season. But as we always say, no one remembers the No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed. We gotta keep going, keep improving."
San Antonio has outscored its last three opponents in the paint by 20.0 per game while the bench has averaged 52.7 points. That unit has been without Gary Neal (Achilles) in four of the past five games, but many others continue to step up.
Off the bench, Ginobili has totaled 35 points in the two games Parker has missed, and former Blazer Patty Mills has averaged 10.3 on 76.5 percent shooting over the last three. Duncan has posted a season-best four consecutive double-doubles, and Kawhi Leonard has scored at least 14 in five straight games.
"That's a championship team right there," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "They do all the little things."
San Antonio could be in for another big night offensively against Portland, giving up averages of 107.3 points and 50.3 percent shooting during a seven-game road losing streak. The Blazers (28-32) haven't had a longer one in a season since opening 0-9 away from home in 2007-08.
They began a three-game trip with a 91-85 defeat to Memphis on Wednesday following a 3-1 homestand. Portland is 3 1/2 games behind Utah for the West's eighth and final playoff spot.
"It is uphill, but we are still there, even with that loss," coach Terry Stotts told the league's official website. "We just have to roll some wins together. That will take care of itself, but we have to go into San Antonio and get a win there."
The Blazers haven't visited San Antonio since losing two trips last season by a combined 51 points. The teams have split two meetings in Portland this season.
Damian Lillard's 29 points keyed a 98-90 win over the Spurs on Dec. 13 in the last matchup. The Rookie of the Year candidate has scored at least 20 in four straight games.
LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged 25.3 points in his last four matchups with the Spurs, but he's averaged 10.3 and shot 23.3 percent in Portland's last three road games.
BEST OF MAXIM
For all those riding along on the Tony Parker MVP Bandwagon, the road to the Maurice Podoloff Trophy has hit a few potholes. And it's not because Parker is out for a month with a bum ankle.
No, because the Spurs never seem to hit any potholes.
San Antonio just keeps winning, moving to 2-0 without Parker after rolling over the Chicago Bulls in the second half in Wednesday...
Players do not always eat, sleep and drink basketball. They have hobbies/interests that keep their passion occupied while they are away from the court.
If you ever seen San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker on the sidelines recently, you will notice that he always looks sharp and well dressed. Now most people would have you believe that it is the work a hired stylist that...
Gregg Popovich believes Tony Parker will return to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup before the four weeks he was expected to miss.
It is a cruel-but-ironic twist that nobody outside of LeBron James has done more damage to Tony Parker's long-shot MVP candidacy than Parker's own teammates.
The Spurs point guard out hurt. An ankle injury is expected to keep him away four weeks. "The Spurs hardly even realize he's gone" is saying too much, but they did crush the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday...
Tony Parker turned 30 this season, just two days prior to the San Antonio Spurs' 86-84 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Parker drained the game-winning bucket -- a wide-open mid-range shot, created by both pristine offensive execution and Russell Westbrook's costly defensive mishap. It was a sign of things to come.
Since then, the Frenchman has produced his finest...
During last month’s All-Star Weekend, Bill Simmons, conducted another excellent interview with San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker who is currently injured with a sprained ankle. They discussed a variety of topics including the 2001 NBA Draft when Parker said he was told that the Boston Celtics were going to draft him before they opted instead to go with Joseph Forte who...
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker joined Bill Simmons in an exclusive interview of the "B.S. Report".
Parker talks about being underrated in the league, which he shrugs off saying it's because he plays for the San Antonio Spurs. Parker also discusses the Western Conference Finals loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden being traded. Needless to say he...
I’m not really a salary cap guy. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at what players are getting paid, how contracts are structured or how teams avoid the luxury tax.
But I do know good value when I see it.
Recently, Sports Illustrated did a column on the best value contracts in the NBA. Not surprisingly, both San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Tony Parker made the...
We've known for a long time that Tim Duncan was almost a member of the Boston Celtics coming out of college (Celtics had the best chance to get the first pick in the draft), but did you know that Tony Parker was also almost a member of the Celtics? That's right, over NBA All-Star Weekend, Parker revealed to Grantland's Bill Simmons (nine minute mark) that he was literally...
With injured guard Tony Parker sidelined for an expected four weeks, the San Antonio Spurs (48-14) haven't missed a beat in terms of winning as the Spurs have defeated their last two opponents by an average of 28.5 points per game.
The Spurs will host the visiting Portland Trailblazers (28-32) who have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball this season, but did defeat...
The Los Angeles Lakers may not be on this list, but they are back on everyone’s radar. For as much hype and undue attention as they got heading into the season, the narrative has run the full gambit. Is it possible to go from being completely overrated to potentially (foolishly) underrated, IF they happen to make it in? Strangely, Tony Parker’s injury could actually help the...
The James Harden trade to the Houston Rockets stirred a mixture of feelings, but one NBA player was pretty happy when he was traded. Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Parker told Bill Simmons during a Grantland interview that he was pretty “happy” when Harden was traded due to Harden being a tough player [...]The post Tony Parker Tells Bill Simmons He Was Happy When James...
The San Antonio Spurs (48-14) will look for yet another home win as they host the Portland Trail Blazers (28-32) in San Antonio. This will be the Spurs and Blazers last meeting of the season with both teams splitting the first two contests in Portland.
The last game between San Antonio and Portland saw the Blazers win 98-90 in Portland. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 21 points...
In a shocking turn of events the unthinkable happened--the Miami Heat clinched a return trip to the playoffs after beating the Philadelphia 76ers 102-93 Friday night.
If I could lay the sarcasm on thicker I would. The Heat are playing lights out basketball lately and look like a team that can't be beat. That could be because they have not been beat in 17 tries...