The final regular season matchup of the year between LaMarcus Aldridge and his former team could have easily been a trap game with the Golden State Warriors coming into town Saturday night. Alas, the Spurs proved once again that such performances are only a reality for the younger, less focused teams of the Association. This game had all the makings of a nail biter, but San Antonio turned the burners on in the second half and never looked back as they torched the Trail Blazers on their way to a 118-110 win. The Spurs were led by 22 apiece from LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, while C.J. McCollum had 26 points for the Blazers.
A typically stingy Spurs defense looked rather porous as the Blazers scored early and often on layups and offensive boards. Fortunately the good guys shot the ball well themselves, allowing them to keep up with the visiting team. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 5 points on a driving baseline dunk, a midrange jumper and a free throw while Tony Parker and Tim Duncan pitched in a few buckets themselves. Kawhi Leonard surprisingly didn't touch the ball much in the opening period. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum hit an array of contested and open looks, and the dynamic duo had the Silver and Black trailing 28-23 at the end of the first.
Kevin Martin struggled early in the second, going 0-3 from the field and 1-2 from the free throw line in 6 minutes of action. Despite these woes, K-Mart's looks were all open and within the flow of the offense. Meanwhile, Boris Diaw awoke from his month-long hibernation to score 9 points on 4-4 shooting in 9 minutes, punctuated by a 3-point play. Danny Green also pitched in, giving the Spurs their first lead of the period with a contested 3-pointer. Icy/Hot may just be getting hot at the right time. Seven Spurs scored at least 4 points, led by LMA's 13. The half ended on a bizarre play as Damian Lillard fouled Patty Mills at midcourt with 0.1 on the clock. Patty sank both free throws and the back-and-forth quarter ended with the Spurs leading 56-54.
The Spurs have owned the third quarter throughout the season, and this game was no exception. The Silver and Black opened the frame on a 10-0 run en route to a 39 point quarter. Kawhi, after a quiet first half, scored 11 points while LaMarcus Aldridge put up 9 of his own. Tony Parker spent the night wheeling and dealing and checked out of the game with 12 points and 16 assists. After a slew of underwhelming offensive performances from Tony lately, he must have figured it's time to remind everyone he's still one of the league's best point guards. Tim Duncan and Patty Mills did their part with Timmy making a living in the paint while Patty was hot from the 3-point line on St. Patty's Day. C.J. McCollum and Chris Kaman did all they could to keep their team in it, but the Spurs could not be stopped as they entered the fourth with a 95-78 lead.
If the Blazers were hoping the San Antonio bench would give them an avenue back into the game, they were sorely mistaken. The aforementioned struggling Kevin Martin scored 7 points in the fourth as it took him all of a week to look like he's been a Spur all season. K-Mart flew around the court and showed great chemistry with his new teammates. Portland refused to go away as they made their living at the free throw line, slowly chipping away at the lead and keeping the game between 12-16 points. Lazy passes and sloppy play prompted multiple timeouts from an irate Coach Pop, but the result was never truly in doubt. The Spurs did more than enough down the stretch to remain undefeated at home this season. Now we turn our attention to THAT team. See y'all Saturday night. Go Spurs Go!