Trail Blazers Lose To Spurs, Lose McCollum (Left Leg) In The Process

by Casey Holdahl
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SAN ANTONIO -- After winning the first two games of a three-game road trip by double-digits, the Portland Trail Blazers fell 108-103 to the San Antonio Spurs in front of a sellout crowd Saturday night at AT&T Center.

"I thought it was a really good basketball game," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Both teams really defended hard, played hard, had good performances. I thought it was good effort on our part... It was disappointing to lose though."

Portland is now 42-27 overall, 17-18 on the road this season. The Trail Blazers and Spurs finish their season series tied 2-2. Even with the loss, the Trail Blazers remain in fourth in the Western Conference standings, though they now trail the Houston Rockets for third by 1.0 games with 13 games to play in the regular season.

After trailing by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, the Trail Blazers used a 14-1 run to take a 42-40 lead late in the first half. Portland would eventually take that two-point advantage into the halftime intermission.

And even after CJ McCollum left the game just before the seven minute mark of the third quarter with a left leg injury, Portland still managed to take a 76-72 lead into the final frame.

"I went for a layup, a left hand layup," said McCollum. "(Poeltl) blocked it, landed on my foot, kind of trapped my foot on the ground, felt my knee kinda twist. Some pain."

While x-rays came back negative, McCollum will have an MRI on his left knee Sunday morning.

Without McCollum, and with the Spurs shooting 15 free throws in the fourth, the Trail Blazers were outscored by nine points in the fourth quarter to come away with the five-point loss on the second night of a back-to-back.

"I thought we made up for shots not going in," said Damian Lillard. "It got down the stretch and they just had more legs than we did. Two-point game, they get a foul on a three-pointer, it didn't even look it was much contact, if any at all, they get three shots. Then after that, there's an away from the play foul where it didn't even seem like it was impacting the play, it was a guy running to the corner, the ball is on the opposite side, they get a free throw and the ball... If those get called against in a close game like that, those calls hurt."

The Trail Blazers were lead by Lillard, who went 13-of-29 from the field for 34 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic put up another double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds while also handing out four assists. Rodney Hood, who assumed McCollum's role at shooting guard once the Lehigh grad left the game, went for 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Moe Harkless added 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting to round out Portland's double-digit scorers.

The Spurs had seven players finish in double figures led by DeMar DeRozan, who went 6-of-14 from the field for 21 points to go with 8 rebounds and three assists. Derrick White and Rudy Gay each had 13 while LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills both finished with 12.

The Trail Blazers now return to the Moda Center for a four-game homestand starting Monday versus the Indiana Pacers. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest, ESPN and Rip City Radio 620.

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