The San Antonio Spurs, sans Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Splitter, stood no chance against an inspired Portland Trail Blazer team. The story of this game was the first quarter, as you'll see below in the mini-recap.
So many guys had good games tonight, it's just more efficient to use the list format:
LaMarcus Aldridge: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals
Jamal Crawford: 20 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, plus 1 turnover in garbage time, as the starting PG.
Gerald Wallace: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 monster blocks
Nicolas Batum 19 points, 6 rebounds
Raymond Felton: 16 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover
Elliot Williams: 17 points
I really don't know where to start with the mini-recap. The Spurs kept the game close early... then the Blazers said "we're done here". 22 straight points. 8 for 11 from three (including three for Felton and four for Crawford). 12 assists. 13 rebounds. Did I mention this was just the first quarter? It ended with the Blazers leading 41-23. If you can see a replay, do so; it was like a broke man's "perfect quarter".
The second quarter was surprisingly quiet after the craziness. Both teams traded buckets until a late Blazer run bumped the lead up to 23.
The starters came back out in the third quarter, and picked up where they left off in the first, playing some strong D and great offense, capped by more open three pointers. With 4:30 left, a Batum three and Wesley layup gave the Blazers a 35 point lead, 90-55. It began to look like a major league hitter taking on a batting practice machine. A Wesley Matthews three-pointer bumped the Blazers past 100 points, and into a 40 point lead. John Hollinger's head exploded. The lead was 38 at the buzzer.
The fourth quarter opened with Wesley Matthews setting up Elliot Williams for an alley-oop dunk on the break. Soon, the bench was empty. Well, it was full of starters, but you know. Williams hit some nice shots. Babbitt hit a three. Nolan finished a layup. And after a bad stretch in the Rose Garden, the crowd was cheering and having fun while Popovich yelled at his team. Elliot (with plenty of help from his teammates) put on a nice show for the live crowd, featuring steals and dunks around a tired Spurs team. The Blazers made one last push to reach the 140 mark, but came up short.
Check out the entertaining box score, then stay tuned for Dave's recap and Ben's media row report. The Blazers now have an amazing 8 days off, except LaMarcus Aldridge, whom we will see Sunday in Orlando for the All-Star Game. -- Tim