Western Conference finals preview
Posted: Friday May 28, 1999 01:32 PM
Sports Illustrated staff writer Marty Burns breaks down the Western Conference finals. Click here for his look at the Eastern Conference's Pacers-Knicks matchup.
No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 2 Portland Trail Blazers
Season series: Spurs, 3-1.
Matchup to watch: Spurs C David Robinson vs. Blazers C Arvydas Sabonis. The Admiral will try to use his speed and quickness against the bulky Sabonis, whose clever passing initiates Portland's attack.
Spurs win if: Robinson scores at least 20 points, bench players like PG Antonio Daniels, PF Malik Rose and SG Jaren Jackson chip in a combined 10-15 more, and SG Mario Elie doesn't give SG Isaiah Rider too many chances to pound his chest.
Blazers win if: PF Brian Grant can stay out of foul trouble against PF Tim Duncan, they grab at least 10 offensive rebounds and commit no more than 15 turnovers, and PG Damon Stoudamire hits at least as many big shots as counterpart Avery Johnson does.
The X-factor: Blazers PF Rasheed Wallace. Wallace, the team's sixth man, has the size (6'11") and quickness to help defend Duncan and give Portland some much-needed scoring inside. The Spurs have nobody on their bench to match up with him.
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