Haynes & Jaynes: How much Moda Center will help in Game 3
Facing a 0-2 deficit at home against a much-polished San Antonio Spurs team this evening isn’t drastically going to alter the outcome of what has taken place thus far.
The Moda Center is going to do its job. The building will be there. Right at 1 Center Court. Trail Blazer fans will pack the place out and bring the ruckus.
But will the Portland Trail Blazers show up, and show out?
“I think everybody is looking forward to playing at home, but going home doesn’t guarantee anything,” LaMarcus Aldridge told CSNNW.com. “So I think guys are just looking forward to getting back on track and going home to make that happen.”
A big part of the Portland Trail Blazers getting back on track rest on the shoulders of their three-time All-Star power forward. The Spurs have given Tiago Splitter the assignment of checking Aldridge and so far, he has done a magnificent job.
Aldridge is averaging 24 points in those two games, but he is shooting a poor 37 percent from the field. Is the pressure of the entire world observing his play on a grand stage getting to him? Is the underdog tag removed and folks now believe they should be competing better than this?
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Aldridge replied. “I still think people are still saying we’re not going to win. There’s no added pressure. We’ve been underdogs during this whole playoffs. We just have to go out and play basketball and be ourselves.”
Head Coach Terry Stotts said via a teleconference call on Friday that it is unlikely Mo Williams, their best reserve, will not play tonight with that painfully pulled groin. That’s not good news at all being that the Spurs’ bench has registered 50 points in each game in this series.
Portland’s bench has yet to crack 20 points in each of the two games. Game 3 isn’t looking good already.
“Other guys have to step up,” Nicolas Batum said. “…We got a lot of guys that can play on this team. We played without him (Mo) sometimes. He got hurt already this year and we kept playing without him. I trust every one of my teammates on this team. I trust them.”
Aldridge says it’s just a matter of shooting out the gate in a strong fashion to give the second unit some cushion to work with.
“We just have to match their intensity,” he said. “We’ve beaten them before. Our bench doesn’t have to do too much to maintain as long as we go out there and match their aggressiveness and intensity from the start.”
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio 620 AM.
CSN Programming: Rip City Live starts at 6:30 p.m., Talkin’ Ball is immediately following the game and Trail Blazers' Pulse, our postgame social media show, is right after that.
Injuries: Mo Williams (groin) is likely out for Portland. None for San Antonio.
Probable Starters for Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez.
Series this season: Tied at 2-2.
Probable Starters for Spurs: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter.
Playoff history between these two teams courtesy of Trail Blazers media relations department:
Playoffs All-Time Record: Spurs lead 12-5
In Portland: Trail Blazers lead 5-3
At San Antonio: Spurs lead 9-0