In a late-night game at the building formerly known as the Rose Garden, the Spurs tried to put a losing streak and the potential of a losing record on the RRT to bed. By the stroke of midnight however, there would be only a loss and lost hours of sleep ahead trying to figure out how to fix what ails.
The first quarter was an ugly affair, with the Spurs down 23-12 when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Kawhi Leonard checked out. Duncan was 5-5 and had 10 of the Spurs 12 points. The second unit offered little initially, closing the quarter down 32-16.
That same unit kicked off the second quarter, starting a run (10-7) that the starters would eventually turn into the high point of the night. The Spurs went on a 20-6 run that included one of the wonderful "point Duncan" moments where a rebound and coast-to-coast drive was punctuated by a no-look pass and a Danny Green transition three.
What ultimately ended up as a 30-11 run was the best 8-10 minute stretch of Spurs basketball of 2015. It would’ve been flawless, but in the midst of it, Parker was still running around aimlessly. The beautiful basketball being played, in spite of him, made his current form all the more jarring. He finished the half 0-for-5 with two turnovers.
After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, the Spurs entered half time down only 51-50, with a Duncan 3-pointer at the buzzer rattling out (later ruled after the clock had expired).
The third quarter was, in line with current trends, not so wonderful for the Spurs (slightly better than the first though). The second unit again was something of a catalyst cutting the lead back to 7, before a 10-0 run from the Blazers that put a comfortable cushion that would hardly ever be breached.
The fourth quarter was more of the same. Parker unable to get it going, Duncan doing everything he could, flashes from one or two other Spurs, but nothing sustainable. The Spurs were ultimately outscored 92-61 in quarters 1, 3, and 4.
This game wasn’t as ugly as the 22 turnover/17 assist game against the Jazz on Monday, but the Spurs were still sloppy with 13 turnovers (to 20 assists). The more worrying thing is that the turnovers came mostly after a ball-handler got stuck and the offense stalled and a desperation pass was attempted. What happened to the offense? What happened to the ball movement and the open looks?
The Spurs have a night off before heading back down to California for some Boogie Nights. Hopefully the (20-35) Sacramento Kings can be the fodder for a Spurs rebirth, but they are coming off an upset win over the Grizzlies, and when engaged, have been a tough out this season.