If you look at the final score of Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series between the Trail Blazers and Spurs, it’s easy to come away thinking that nothing went right all night for the Trail Blazers. After all, how much could have gone right when you trail by as many as 29 points and end up losing by 24?
But if you’re looking for something to feel good about as you wait for Game 2 Thursday night in San Antonio, consider this: The Trail Blazers outscored the Spurs 53-51 in the second half. Portland shot a better percentage from the field (42 percent to 41 percent) and from three (36 percent to 22 percent), outscored San Antonio 20-14 in the paint, pulled down 11 more rebounds and shot three more free throws in the final 24 minutes of Game 1. And while you can certainly chalk some of Portland’s success in the second half to San Antonio being able to rest on the laurels of a 26-point halftime lead, there’s little doubt that the game would have been much closer if the Trail Blazers had performed in the first half the way they did in the second.
Here’s what Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and some of this players thought of the team’s second-half performance, and what they might be able to apply from those last two quarters to Thursday night’s game …
Terry Stotts: “I thought (Aldridge’s) postups in the second half were very effective. I thought we played better in the second half. Now, part of that was being down 20 and maybe San Antonio didn’t have the same energy as they started the game with. But the fact that, the second half, we played a little bit better and the way we needed to play at both ends is something we’ve got to have a focus to do at the beginning of the game.”