The San Antonio Spurs travel to face the Portland Trail Blazers in an NBA matchup between two teams currently holding down playoff positions. It’s also a contest between a pair of teams that met in the second round of last season’s Western conference playoffs, where the Spurs won the series 4-1. There’s something not quite right about the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. They’re healthy and their midway through a season long road trip that has help to define their identity and start their stretch drive in the past. That hasn’t happened so far this season. They are 0-3 since the All-Star break including a loss to the Utah Jazz, where they managed to score just 81 points. They are 2-4 on a road trip that finishes this weekend with stops in Sacramento and Phoenix.
This team is still five games ahead of a New Orleans team that needs Anthony Davis to stay healthy to be competitive and isn’t in serious danger of missing the playoffs, but those of us who are waiting for Gregg Popovich’s Spurs to “turn it on” may be waiting for something that simply isn’t about to happen. Perhaps there is no higher gear for this team. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have both struggled for consistency, neither of Kawhi Leonard or Patty Mills have really found their stride since returning from injury.
The roster is still there for San Antonio to be successful, but there’s something missing and they don’t look like a team primed to reach a third consecutive NBA finals.
They’re playing a Trail Blazers team that also hasn’t won since the All-Star break, and has also been enduring something of a mini-crisis. This time last season, Portland were being widely touted as Western conference favorites. Their offense has been stifled in consecutive games since the break dropping contests against Utah and Memphis.
LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to return tonight after missing the game against Memphis. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard is the key piece that still appears to be missing an extra punch to his game.
Betting Preview: San Antonio (+3) at Portland
It might seem foolish to keep rolling with the Spurs considering how poor they’ve been of late. However, neither of these teams have been playing well, San Antonio needs a win and has had Portland’s number. We expect Lillard to pick up his game at some point, but not tonight against San Antonio.
The Pick: San Antonio (+3) (www.betonline.ag)
Writer’s Record Against The Spread: 28-20