Blazers Star LaMarcus Aldridge Will Return From Injury Vs. Spurs
It’s a potential Western Conference playoff preview on Wednesday night when San Antonio visits Portland, and it appears the Blazers will have All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as the Blazers attempt to end a two-game slide and hand the Spurs a season-high fourth straight loss. Portland is a 3-point Bovada favorite with a total of 195.5 points.
No Major Injury
Aldridge on Tuesday said he planned on missing just one game with his newest thumb ailment. After sitting out Sunday night’s fourth-quarter collapse against the Grizzlies, Aldridge will return Wednesday. Aldridge did not participate in any five-on-five scrimmaging or drills at the practice, but he did some light conditioning work and went through shooting drills. He said he injured his thumb in Friday night’s loss at the Utah Jazz when “it got smacked or something” in the second quarter. He underwent magnetic resonance imaging testing and X-rays on his ailing right thumb and the results were negative for major injuries.
Portland fell to 3-4 this season without Aldridge in the 98-92 home defeat to Memphis. Marc Gasol scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, and the Grizzlies outscored the Trail Blazers by 19 in the fourth quarter. Portland scored more points in the third quarter (39) than it did in the entire first half (38). The Trail Blazers bench outscored Memphis’s reserves 36-16. Arron Afflalo eight of those points o! the bench and also grabbed four rebounds in his Trail Blazers debut after being acquired from Denver at the deadline. Damian Lillard recorded team-highs in both points (17) and assists (7).
Parker Having Issues
Star point guard Tony Parker’s struggles are a significant factor in the Spurs’ 2-4 start to their annual rodeo road trip. They tote a three-game losing skid into Wednesday’s now-crucial game. Refreshed from the All-Star break, Parker played one of his best games in Thursday’s 119-115 loss to the Clippers, with 21 points and a season-high 13 assists. In a pair of losses since — a 110-99 affair at Golden State and Monday’s 90-81 ugly loss plant in Utah — Parker has totaled seven points, 10 assists and six turnovers. Though Parker is hitting a career-best 49.2 percent from the 3-point arc, his mid-range game has eroded. That, in turn, has taken away his driving space.
Wednesday marks the fourth and final regular season game between the Trail Blazers and Spurs. Portland won the first two matchups against the Spurs this season (108-95, 12/15/14 and 129-119 *3OT, 12/19/14) before San Antonio won the third game of the series, 110-96, on Jan. 16. Both defenses rank in the top-10 for points allowed. The Trail Blazers are seventh in the NBA at 97.2 points allowed/game, while San Antonio is allowing 97.3 points per game (8th in NBA). Lillard has scored 20+ points against San Antonio in all 10 games he’s played against them in his career. In those 10 games, Lillard is averaging 27.3 points per game on 50.2% shooting. Aldridge has notched six double-doubles in his past eight games against San Antonio, including a double-double in each of the first two matchups this season
Key betting trends: Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Portland. Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings. Spurs are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Spurs are 4-12 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Portland.
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