It was an odd game of sorts: No LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard, Tim Duncan or Tony Parker which forced the Portland Trail Blazers’ (36-18) hand to go small – very small – to a undersized San Antonio Spurs (40-15) team who are coming off an impressive win against the Clippers.
The Blazers were disorganized, uninterested for three quarters, constantly fought the shot clock and really missed Aldridge’s scoring. Dorell Wright slid into starting power forward and former Blazer Patty Mills is hotter than the Australian heat in the fourth and despite another late moment comeback attempt, the Blazers drop and lose an overall super ugly game 111-109.
From the opening tipoff, both teams had a terrible time to score, Portland started 0-5 from the field and no one really wanted to score. It’s not worth mentioning other than Victor Claver took the floor for his second shift of the season, his only playing time was four minutes and attempts one half court shot for his first all season. The Spurs took advantage of Boris Diaw on Wright and kept getting to the rim and overpowering Wright down low. Portland’s dream was to run-and-gun with such a small lineup but the Spurs were smarter, made better shots and made the Blazers pay for their mistakes. The first half was capped by Thomas Robinson airballing a corner three for no reason whatsoever and can’t hit anywhere near the net. Yet somehow Portland was up 52-51 at halftime.
Nicolas Batum and the rest of the Blazers must have dozed off during All-Star Saturday Night because they missed the memo that Marco Belinelli won the Three-Point Contest. He nails two straight for a 9-2 run and gaining their largest lead of the night. It only hurt more when Manu Ginobili got his buckets down and gets under Batum’s skin, referee Courtney Kirkland gives a technical foul to Batum after he bumps into Kirkland’s shoulder in frustration. The Blazers were happy to slink back on defense and the Spurs happily took uncontested shots from all points of the court.
The bloodbath roared in the fourth when Portland went a whole 6:20 minutes without a basket, 0-10 while two Danny Green three-pointers capped a 15-0 run. San Antonio got up on top by double digits and never looked back. Damian Lillard went to take things into his own hand and battled one-on-one with Mills but that scoring drought came to bite the Blazers in the butt.
Who Was Hot
- I put a doughnut in the microwave during the disastrous fourth-quarter opening and it kind of made me feel better. The inside was nice and soft and the glaze on top soaked inside. If you have doughnuts that are a few days old, run it in the microwave for 12 seconds. You’re welcome.
- Damian Lillard went for 31 points, six assists, four rebounds on 13-21 shooting and had a few nice up and under moves under the basket.
- Patty Mills goes for 29 points off the bench. Seems like he’s better than just sitting on benches waving towels around.
Who Was Not
- Tonight was supposed to be Nicolas Batum’s chance to really do some damage offensively, but didn’t make his first bucket till midway through the fourth quarter and had no interest in helping out on scoring. Eight points, five assists, five rebounds, four turnovers on 2-8 shooting in 40 minutes. Qu’est-ce que l’enfer?!
Turn off the TV, go eat some ice cream and pray hard for Aldridge, Freeland and Leonard to make a speedy recovery. The Blazers can sit and get mad till Friday when the lowly Utah Jazz come to the Moda Center, but they have been playing “well” as of late, hopefully they can stop the bleeding on this three-game slide.