The Spurs, looking to continue their trend of scorching-hot first quarter scoring, started out hot enough tonight, getting out to an early 18-8 lead. Portland quickly closed the gap however, grabbing the lead behind steady offense from LaMarcus Aldridge. That lead was brief, though, and back-to-back triples from Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili in the quarter's final seconds gave the Spurs a 30-24 advantage after one.
The jumpers kept falling for San Antonio to start the second, as Patty and Danny Green made the Portland defense pay for rotating late. Their hot shooting contributed to a 15-4 run that gave the Spurs a 16 point edge halfway through the quarter, 45-28. Both teams sharpened their defensive intensity thereafter and a foul-fest ensued, grinding to a halt what had been an exciting pace. Perhaps sensing that AT&T Center patrons were beginning to doze off despite a festive 80's Night atmosphere, Boris Diaw hit a corner three at the buzzer on a textbook in-bounds play to give the Spurs a 56-40 lead heading into the break.
Less than a minute into the third quarter, Portland lost All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge to an injured back. It looked very painful and he had to be helped off the floor to the locker room, grimacing with each step. In his absence, Damian Lillard took it upon himself to drag Portland back into the game and, in a blink, the Blazers were knocking on the door, only down by five halfway through the third quarter. After trading misses and turnovers with the Blazers for a few minutes, the Spurs headed to the fourth up 73-64.
Tony Parker (9 points, 4-13 FG) struggled mightily throughout this game but, surprisingly, Patty Mills had seen precious few minutes through three quarters - especially for a guy who dropped 29 points on Portland earlier in the season. Perhaps to remind Pop that he has an honest-to-goodness backup point guard at his disposal, Patty promptly stole the ball and buried a triple mere seconds after checking into the ball game. After two more triples by Belinelli (who also had played sparingly early in the game), the Spurs had another stranglehold on the pace of the game. The Spurs never looked back and coasted to a 103-90 victory.
Your Spurs have won eight in a row and are now 48-16, still tops in the League. Good Times!