Home Win Streak Ends At 10 With Lopsided Loss To Spurs

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Trail Blazers have one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA. But even that advantage couldn’t overcome a host of injuries.

With three key rotation players sidelined and a moribund start, the Trail Blazers saw their home win streak end with a 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in front of a crowd of 16,143 Thursday night at Moda center.

“It was disappointing,” said head coach Chauncey Billups. “Competing-wise, we never really gave ourselves a chance from the start of the game.”

The Trail Blazers are now 11-12 overall and 10-2 at home this season. The loss is Portland’s first at Moda Center since October 20, their 2021-22 season opener. The loss also ends a two-game winning streak versus the Spurs dating back to last season.

“When you’re playing a game, if you know exactly what a team wants to do and you’ve been prepared enough, you should be able to at least slow it down early on until they made adjustments,” said Billups. “A lot of times we do that, we’re successful at it and there’s some times we don’t. You look at the slow starts we’ve gotten off to all season and sometimes, or most of the time in this building, we’re able to absorb those slow starts. Today, we weren’t.”

Thursday’s game was always going to be a difficult affair for the Trail Blazers with both Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) sidelined, and it didn’t get any easier when Anfernee Simons left the game early in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain.

So you knew the Blazers, shorthanded as they were, would be in for a long night. And when they missed their first seven attempts from the field and trailed by as many as 14 in the first quarter, the prospect of their longest home winning streak since 2009 coming to an unceremonious end seemed likely.

Between the injuries and, more importantly, a lack of effort from the players in uniform, the Blazers went into the half trailing by 21 while shooting 36 percent from the field. And while Portland showed momentary flashes of making it a game in the second half -- they cut San Antonio’s lead to “just” 12 with 8:34 to play -- they never managed to pair an extended run of quality defense with the efficient shot-making that they’d need to get back into a game in which they trailed by as many as 31.

“I don’t think we competed until the second half,” said Norman Powell. “It was pretty free and easy for them up until the guys on the bench made that run. That’s when the intensity picked up, we were able to get multiple stops in the third. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket to cut the deficit. We got seven stops in a row at one point and just couldn’t do enough scoring on the offensive end when we were getting those stops.”

STATISTICS

Both CJ McCollum and Norman Powell, who had missed the last two games with a right quad contusion before returning to the starting lineup Thursday night, finished the game with 16 points and four rebounds.

Ben McLemore came off the bench to contribute 11 points and both Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic pitched in 10 points.

Bryn Forbes led the Spurs with 18 points off the bench. Doug McDermott had 16, Dejounte Murray finished with a double-double of 15 points and 13 assists and both Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl added 14 points.

HIGHLIGHTS

NOTABLE

• San Antonio snapped Portland’s 10-game winning streak at Moda Center.

• The Spurs ended a two-game losing streak to Portland.

• The Trail Blazers had six blocks and eight steals to the Spurs’ five blocks and 10 steals.

• Portland made 13-of-17 free throw attempts (76.5%) while the Spurs shot 12-of-16 from the line (75.0%).

• The Trail Blazers held the Spurs to 16 third quarter points. It was a season-low for third quarter points by a Portland opponent.

QUOTABLE

“I want us to compete harder, I want us to be more competitive in every game. And I don’t feel like every night we do and that concerns me.” -- Chauncey Billups

NEXT UP

The Trail Blazers’ four-game homestand continues with a tilt versus the Boston Celtics Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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