The second round postseason series between the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs is one the most anticipated Western Conference battles, as in the last ten games against each other both teams have won five games apiece.
It is not going to be an easy ride for the Spurs, who survived the Dallas Mavericks in the first-round, as the Trail Blazers are a potent offensive outfit.
The 'big three' of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan will have to put up with most of the scoring load against the Mavericks. Parker has regained his form, but others need to contribute.
Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge will lead the Trail Blazers and it is going to be a tough task for the Spurs to stop them. The overall strength of Portland is also good, as there are a number of players that have contributed in their team's success, such as Nicolas Batum.
The Trail Blazers are a tough team to guard and the Spurs don't have a defense to restrict them. San Antonio can throw defenders on Lillard, but if he gets going with Aldridge, the Spurs will be again playing catch up in the series.
San Antonio's Tiago Splitter compared Aldridge with Dirk Nowitzki and said the team is aware that stopping him is not going to be easy task.
"I think LaMarcus is a younger Dirk who can shoot and drive, play in the post (and do) a lot of things, so it's not going to be easy," Splitter said. "We know that. I think all the team is aware of that; everybody is going to help a little bit."
Aldridge, who averaged 29.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks against the Houston Rockets in the first round, said the team is confident heading into the first game against San Antonio.
"Guys are going to be confident, but still have to think about the way that we got here, working hard and grinding it out," Aldridge said. "I think guys are definitely going to be more confident but this is new territory for most of us."
Parker said San Antonio will try to contain Lillard by trying different strategies, as he is a versatile player. "He can do everything," Parker said. "He can shoot from the outside, penetrate and so we're going to try to do some stuff to try to contain him. You're not going to stop him."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 9:30 pm ET (7:00 am IST, 1:30 am GMT) start with live coverage on TNT in the US and Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The game can be watched via live streaming online in the US HERE or HERE or HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.