Summing it up
It was as if Game 7 never ended. Picking up right where they left off Sunday against Dallas, the Spurs pounded Portland from the opening minutes on Tuesday and never let up en route to a 116-92 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series. Tony Parker decisively outplayed Portland All-Star Damian Lillard with 33 points and nine assists, and the Spurs’ bench outscored Portland 50-18.
Those were just a few of the key measures as the Spurs dominated Portland pretty much across the board. How lopsided was it? Aron Baynes, he of the regular-season inactive sport coat, had more points early in the second quarter than LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard combined. They eventually finished with 32 and 17 points, respectively, but the game was long over by that point.
And now the Spurs, having built on what had been their best performance of the postseason with an even better one, brace for the counter punch they’re sure Portland will deliver in Game 2 on Thursday.
“You don’t know what to expect from the first game,” said Tim Duncan, who recorded his 156th postseason double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. “We moved the ball around. Defensively, we were solid. Now we’re looking forward to Game 2. They’re going to bring it. So we’re excited about the win tonight, but we’re already looking ahead.”
Player of the game
Parker took the postgame podium wearing a shirt embroidered with small skulls, which seemed a fitting metaphor for his matchup with Lillard. In doing so, he followed up his 32-point effort on Sunday with 33 on Tuesday, his first set of back-to-back 30-point games in the playoffs since 2008 and only the second in his postseason career. Parker chipped in with nine assists as the Spurs continued the offensive flow that was lacking for so much of the first round.
“He had a Tony Parker game,” is how Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought he set the tone early. He made his mid-range (jumper) and got to the paint. With their offense, the ball is in his hands a lot and that makes a lot of problems. Everybody kind of feeds off that.”
The turning point
Much like Sunday, there was none. The Spurs led 8-0 out of the gates, and 22-7 late in the first quarter. They never trailed by fewer than nine after that, and by at least 20 over the final 29 minutes. The Blazers actually outscored the Spurs in the second half, 53-51, as they started to resemble their usual potent selves on offense. But after digging such a huge hole in the first half, it didn’t even make a dent in the deficit.
Summing it up