Blazers Finish Back-To-Back With Another Blowout Win, This Time Versus Spurs

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Trail Blazers kept pace in the race to stay out of the play-in tournament with a 124-102 victory versus the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams Saturday night at the Moda Center.

“I think we’ve been playing good basketball for a while, tonight was just another one,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “I didn’t think we got loose with the game even though we had a lead.”

Portland is now 39-29 overall, 18-16 at home this season and have won seven of their last eight. With the win, the Trail Blazers secure the tiebreaker versus the Spurs by virtue of winning the season series 2-1 and are just a half game behind the Mavericks for fifth and one and a half game ahead of the Lakers for seventh.

"We've been able to put together multiple games of high-level basketball, top to bottom, offensively and defensively,” said Norman Powell. “Playing together, communicating, helping one another and staying with it."

After watching the first half of the first quarter, few of the 1,939 fans at Moda Center Saturday night probably figured they’d end up seeing a comfortable Trail Blazers victory. Portland made just one of their first 11 attempts from the field, including missing their first seven shots, and trailed 11-2 after just two and a half minutes of play.

“We were playing good defense, the offense was just not there,” said Damian Lillard. “We had a lot of misses in the paint, we missed a lot of good looks. We came in the huddle saying we on a back-to-back, you usually come out a little slower on the second night of a back-to-back.”

But it wouldn’t last, as the Blazers would finish the quarter by outscoring the Spurs 25-15 to actually take a one-point lead into the second quarter.

After shaking off the tough start, the different players took turns wearing out San Antonio’s defense. In the second quarter it was Lillard, who went 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-5 from three to put up 11 points, including a flurry right before the end of the first half, to give Portland a 10-point lead at the intermission.

Then it was Jusuf Nurkic’s turn in the third quarter. With the center finding his timing in the pick-and-roll with Lillard, the combo combined for 21 points, with Nurkic going for 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

And finally in the fourth, it was Powell’s time to shine. With Lillard sitting out the fourth, Powell kicked up his aggressive in getting to the basket, resulting in the 6-3 guard going 3-of-5 from the field and earning multiple trips to the free throw line put up 11 points in the first six minutes of the quarter. Between Powell’s production and CJ McCollum going 3-of-4 for nine points, Portland took their largest lead of the game at 112-88 with 5:24 to play.

From there, Stotts was able to put in the deep bench to ride out the victory while also having the opportunity to rest the rotation before the last week of the regular season.

“We just had to settle in,” said Lillard. “I think our bodies settled in and we just kept being aggressive, kept the ball moving, kept our pace up and fell into another good win.”

Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 30 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, 4-of-9 shooting from three and 10-of-10 shooting from the line to go with eight assists and four rebounds in 31 minutes. It was Lillard’s fourth consecutive game with 30+ points, and 32nd such game of the season.

Nurkic went 8-of-15 for 17 points, nine rebounds -- six of those offensive -- five assists and a block in 21 minutes.

McCollum closed out the Spurs in the fourth, scoring nine of his 27 points in the final frame while also finishing with five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 33 minutes. Powell added 18 points and six rebounds and Anfernee Simons went for nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.

DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio with 20 points. Lonnie Walker added 18 and Dejounte Murray finished with 15.

Next up, the Trail Blazers have Mother’s Day off before hosting the Houston Rockets Monday night in the final game of a three-game homestand. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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