Blazers Host Spurs Looking To End Home Losing Streak

by Casey Holdahl
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After spending a week out on the road, the Trail Blazers (16-14) return to the Moda Center to play host to the San Antonio Spurs (21-10) in the first meeting between the two teams this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Trail Blazers enter Wednesday night’s game coming off a 108-107 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night at the Target Center. Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler made two free throws with 2.8 seconds to play that gave Minnesota the lead and Damian Lillard’s desperation three-pointer missed the mark, sending the Trail Blazers back home with a 3-2 record on the five-game trip.

“I think we should have been 4-1 but the reality is 3-2, so it’s not a bad trip,” said CJ McCollum. “Tightened some things up and try to take advantage of some home games.”

Which is something the Trail Blazers have had a difficult time doing over the last month. The Trail Blazers haven’t won a game at the Moda Center in over a month, with their last victory occurring versus the Sacramento Kings on November 18. Granted, they’ve only played four home games over that period, but they lost all four, in a row, and were only competitive in the last of those contests, a 124-117 loss to the Rockets on December 9.

Given their recent difficulties at the Moda Center, playing the Spurs, a team currently in third place in the Western Conference, in the always-difficult first game after an extended road trip doesn’t seem like a great opportunity to end their home losing streak. But the Trail Blazers do have a few things going for them heading into Wednesday’s contest.

First, they’ve won their last two games against the Spurs and have taken at least two games from the long-time Western Conference powerhouse in four of the last five seasons.

But more importantly for the Trail Blazers chances Wednesday night, the Spurs will rest both Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, both of whom are out due to “return from injury management.” While San Antonio has managed to go 21-10 without both players in the lineup for significant portions of the season thus far, they are undoubtably a better team with Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, and Parker, who is 10th among active players in career points, on the floor.

Wednesday night’s game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. Brian Wheeler and Michael Holton will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Trail Blazers Radio Network.