After blowing two games in Los Angeles, the Spurs were back in San Antonio seeking to regain a grasp on their playoff hopes against a potential first round opponent: the Portland Trail Blazers. In a game that featured some red-hot shooting from both teams and many lead changes, the Spurs used a mini-explosion in the fourth quarter, featuring ten points and some typical Manu Ginobili Magic, to get the all important win at home.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 33 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 while grabbing eight rebounds and four steals for the Spurs.
- The first quarter was a wild offensive showdown with the Blazers hitting 69.4 percent (11-16) of their shots, and the Spurs shooting 73.3 percent (11-15).
- Danny Green got a technical early in the second after he felt he was fouled on a layup attempt. He had a pretty legit gripe as he was clearly whacked across the arm by Meyers Leonard right in front of the official. In a bit of justice, 85 percent FT shooter CJ McCollum missed the technical. In the words of former Blazer Rasheed Wallace, ball don’t lie.
- Contested or not, there was little stopping Lillard beyond the arc tonight. Patty Mills tried a few times to draw some moving screens on Nurkic to negate Lillard’s shots, but to no avail.
- Manu brought the Grandpa Juice tonight, scoring those ten important points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight midway through that gave the Spurs the separation they needed to finish off the game. In all he scored 17 points on 7-7 shooting and 3 rebounds to go along with an assist and steal.
- The Spurs bench played a huge roll in this one, outscoring the Blazers reserves 42-22. Along with Ginobili’s contributions, Rudy Gay provided 16 points and some pivotal offense while Aldridge rested.
- This Spurs didn’t get any favors tonight with the Nuggets blowing out the Clippers, Pelicans getting by the Warriors, and the Thunder beating the Rockets, so this was an extremely important win. One more win will clinch their 21st straight playoff appearance. That shouldn’t be a problem considering the Spurs next opponent (see below), but that doesn’t mean they can relax.
The Spurs return to the AT&T Center on Monday to take on the Sacramento Kings. Tip-off will be at 7:30 PM CT.