PORTLAND, Ore., March 24 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan scored a season-low six points and the San Antonio Spurs were unaffected.

Reserve Brent Barry made five of his career-high seven 3-pointers in the second quarter en route to a season-high 23 points as the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 98-79 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

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San Antonio (54-15) inched one game ahead of idle Dallas (53-16) in the race for the Southwest Division title and the top spot in the Western Conference.

Averaging a career-low 18.8 points in his ninth season, Duncan has relinquished some of the offense to guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, each of whom has garnered an All-Star berth in the last two years.

However, Duncan had been held to single digits just once this season, scoring nine in a win over Golden State on Feb. 25. On Friday, he made just 3-of-7 shots and missed two free throws in 28 minutes.

"Tim not scoring, he doesn't care," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He had six assists. He was our high assist guy. If people want to double-team him, keep him from scoring, they can do that. Luckily for us, he's unselfish and looks to find other guys on the court and let his teammates play. That's worked out for us."

The Spurs were coming off of a loss to Denver in the opener of a pivotal five-game road swing and came out cold in the opening period as they made just 7-of-18 shots.

Portland also struggled, sinking 6-of-18 shots, and trailed, 15-13.

Barry lifted the defending champions out of their doldrums in the second period as he scored 15 points, all from the arc. His long-range shooting provided the spark San Antonio needed to get separation.

The Spurs used two separate runs in the second quarter to break open the game. They had a 16-6 burst in which Michael Finley scored six of his 10 points, then Barry scored 12 points in an 18-7 surge, including a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the half to make it 51-32.

"It felt like what I used to do for a long time," Barry said. "It feels good to get out there and run and see the ball go in. Seeing the things that you know you're capable of."

Barry was nearly traded at the deadline but realizes that he will be a key element off the bench as San Antonio gets ready for the postseason.

"We've talked about it before and it's a challenge to play that role," Barry said. "It's a great time in the next couple weeks to prepare myself mentally and physically for what might happen in the playoffs. That's kinda my approach, because you never know when those opportunities might come."

Portland got as close as 67-56 on a reverse layup by rookie Jarrett Jack with 2:08 left in the third quarter. However, Barry added two more 3-pointers in a 9-2 charge to open the final period, giving San Antonio a 79-60 advantage.

"Brent was real aggressive tonight and that's when he's at his best, when he doesn't worry about making mistakes or missing shots," Popovich added. "Just play the game and let it fly."

Ginobili scored 16 points and Parker added 14 for the Spurs, who were not threatened thereafter.

"It was so impressive because (Barry) did it in (20) minutes," said Ginobili, who shot 5-of-9 from the floor. "It was nice to see him going like he was, but we all know that he's is very capable of that."

Juan Dixon scored 24 points for the Blazers (20-49), who have lost seven in a row.

"We were just outmanned," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "They're the world champs and we just couldn't match up."

"That's a great team over there, man," said Dixon, who made 9-of-17 shots. "(San Antonio) moves the ball so well as a team, everybody can get open looks. Just a solid team from top to bottom."