Summing it up
Unlike Game 1, Portland showed some fight after getting hit with another early upper cut Thursday at the AT&T Center. But in the end, it didn’t matter as the Spurs used a strong finishing run to polish off another dominant victory, 114-97, and take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. Seven Spurs scored in double-figures, and nine had at least seven as they continued to capitalize on their superior depth.
Even after losing the second half for the second straight game, the Spurs have won their past three by a total of 64 points. They blew open what had been a one-point game with a 21-4 surge, and the lead never dipped below eight over the final 34-plus minutes. The last instance came at 99-91, at which point the Spurs put Portland down to good with a 13-2 run featuring 3-pointers from Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard.
“We made three huge 3s when the basket was getting smaller,” Ginobili said. “It could have gotten tough, but those three gave us a lot of (breathing room). It’s going to be very tough (in Portland), for sure. But if we play defense like we did in the second half, we have a better chance.”
Player of the game
Tony Parker’s 16 points and 10 assists didn’t match the gaudiness of his 33/9 in Game 1, but he remained the driving force behind the Spurs’ success. The Blazers made their anticipated adjustment, sticking the stockier Wesley Matthews on Tony Parker after his 33-point outing in Game 1. Parker struggled early as a result, missing 6 of his first 7 shots, but still had a major impact by dishing out eight assists during the Spurs’ 70-point first half. Parker then rediscovered his stroke with 7 makes on his last 12 shots.
“It took what they were giving me,” he said. “I figured after my last two games they were going to close the paint. We talked about it before the game and I just tried to find my teammates. I had some good looks (I could have taken), but the entire team was playing great so I didn’t want to force anything and the ball movement was great.”
The turning point
It overlapped a stretch — termed “the onslaught” by Portland coach Terry Stotts — in which the Spurs scored a total of 25 points on 10 straight possessions, with a good coming from the bench that completely dominated its counterparts for a second straight game. Kawhi Leonard added one of his signature “Whi Plays,” rejecting Matthews at the rim and pulling up for a transition jumper at the other end. It was part of a 41-point quarter for the Spurs, their largest of the season and tied for the most allowed in Portland playoff history.
Summing it up