The Spurs couldn’t keep pace with a high-powered Portland offense, losing 102-124, as the Trail Blazers outshot, outrebounded, and outhustled San Antonio in their final meeting of the regular season.
DeMar DeRozan led the Silver and Black with 20 points, two rebounds, and four assists. But 30 points from Damian Lillard and another 27 from C.J. McCollum helped Portland seal the deal on Saturday night.
- Lonnie Walker IV got the Spurs on the board with an above-the-break three-pointer, and that marks the fourth time he’s scored the opening basket for San Antonio this season. The third-year two-guard ended the first frame with seven points and made several extra-effort plays on the glass to give the Silver and Black a few extra possessions. Lonnie had 18 points but failed to replicate his late-game heroics from a night ago as Portland built an insurmountable cushion.
- Portland thoroughly bullied San Antonio on the glass, recording 18 offensive boards and outrebounding the Spurs 63-40. Jusuf Nurkic looked like a man among boys when Jakob Poeltl or Drew Eubanks matched up against him in the paint as he scored 13 points in the third quarter alone.
- The Spurs’ magic number remains at 3, as any combination of three San Antonio victories and New Orleans losses will punch their ticket into the play-in tournament. Although the Bucks, Nets, Knicks, and Suns (x2) round out their schedule, the good guys are a virtual lock for the tenth seed. Their win versus the Kings made it nearly impossible for Sacramento to claw back into the conversation, and the Pelicans lost Zion Williamson for the rest of the season.
- After the Spurs opened the game on a 9-0 run, it appeared as though San Antonio might be able to upset the Blazers in the Moda Center. However, their hot hand was short-lived as Portland outscored in the first quarter and every subsequent quarter. There were runs here and there that gave fans hope, but Damian Lillard and company were the better teams for most of the outing, and the final score reflected that.
- Head coach Gregg Popovich emptied the bench with 6:09 remaining in regulation, which gave Luka Samanic, Gorgui Dieng, Tre Jones, Keita Bates-Diop, and even Quinndary Weatherspoon an opportunity to stretch their legs in garbage time. Their contributions did little to cut into Portland’s massive lead, though it was probably a little too late for anyone to hope for a comeback.
- Dejounte got into early foul trouble, picking up his second personal at the 6:53 mark of the first quarter and forcing Patty Mills into the game a little earlier than expected. Although the veteran guard has provided the Spurs with a spark off the bench during his decade-long stint in San Antonio, he only mustered two rebounds, two fouls, two turnovers, and an 0-for-2 line from the field in his first few minutes. And unfortunately, Patty’s cold spell dates back to the beginning of April.
- Damian Lillard is a magician with the basketball in his hands, getting to his favorite spots at will and effortlessly firing trifectas from near the logo. And his backcourt co-star C.J. McCollum is fully capable of stringing together an equally impressive scoring display, using deceptive dribble combinations and subtly fakes to create space. While San Antonio held both guards in check in the first half, the explosive tandem got whatever they wanted in the second half.
- This matchup was a battle between two of the tightest ball clubs in the NBA, with both organizations ranking one and two in turnovers per game this season. Here’s an obscure statistic for you. San Antonio and Portland combined for fewer giveaways than each of the bottom five teams in that category average a night.
- DeMar DeRozan blew by Robert Covington after pulling off a slick in-and-out move, steamrolling down the lane for a vicious one-handed jam. The four-time All-Star may receive some warranted criticism for his outdated playstyle, but this dunk got me on my feet in a hurry, and that’s why this play is my NBA Top Shot Moment of the night nominee.
- At 18-10 away from the AT&T Center, the Silver and Black had the second-best road record in the NBA on April 26. Nearly two weeks later, San Antonio has dropped the middle of the pack, going 1-5 outside the 2-1-0 since their overtime victory against the Wizards.
For the Trail Blazers fans’ perspective, visit Blazer’s Edge.