Ginobili Helps Spurs Squeak by Trail Blazers
San Antonio 86, Portland 82
PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 1, (Ticker) -- Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker saw the San Antonio Spurs blow two leads they helped build. They made sure it did not happen a third time.
Ginobili scored 21 points and Parker added 20 as the Spurs extended their winning streak to five games with an 86-82 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I give them a lot of credit," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "When they get down, they just plug away and find a way to get back into the game. That's mental toughness and they get that from (Portland coach Nate McMillan). He's got them playing the right way and I was very impressed with them."
"Every time we got a lead it was hard because they got pumped up by the crowd and started playing more aggressive and would take a lead," Ginobili said. "Usually the aggressive team will get more calls and we got frustrated. We did a good job of playing through it."
Despite watching the Trail Blazers lose for the 15th time in 19 matchups with the Spurs, including a 106-75 setback Jan. 4, McMillan was encouraged by the effort his players.
"I thought we fought and played really hard," McMillan said. "They beat us tonight because they made a few more plays than we did and got a few more breaks. In the past, we would have fallen apart in some situations and pouted and lowered our heads. But tonight we didn't let it bother us."
Zach Randolph, who scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, gave the Trail Blazers a 71-6 edge with a three-point play with 6:06 remaining. The defending champions responded with a 9-2 burst over the next three minutes to take the lead for good. Parker scored four points during the surge, which was capped by a pair of free throws by Nazr Mohammed that made it 78-73 with 3:13 to go.
"(Ginobili and Parker) played great the entire game," said Spurs superstar forward Tim Duncan, who collected 14 points and 17 rebounds. "Tony was great with his attacking and getting into the paint. I think that helped him later on. People were afraid to leave guys and he was able to get some shots off."
Portland got as close as 80-77 on a jumper by Juan Dixon, who scored just 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting, with 2:07 left.
"All my shots were flat," Dixon said. "We didn't shoot the ball well as a team (39 percent) but we still had an opportunity at the end. We had a couple bad plays and that's all it takes against a good team."
"It was really frustrating out there," said Randolph, who shot 9-of-26 from the floor. "They really have a clamp on the inside on defense and can shoot jumpers on the inside on offense. We missed some close shots and broke down on defense. We could have won the game."
Ginobili, who was 11-of-12 from the line, helped ice the game with five free throws down the stretch as San Antonio improved to 2-0 on its season-high eight-game road trip.
"Historically, free throws have been of sort of weakness for our team," Ginobili said. "But today we were very good down the stretch and that helped get us the win."
Parker and Ginobili combined for 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and six assists in the first quarter, helping San Antonio to a 25-17 advantage.
"We started off real good in the first quarter," Ginobili said. "We had six assists and that's what (Popovich wanted). In the second and third, we stopped moving the ball but we were able to get it going again in the fourth."