UPDATE: Robin Lopez suffered a broken hand while going for a rebound. He will be out "for a while", per Terry Stotts.
Portland may have gotten the win, but questions linger on what the Blazers can do when San Antonio is at full strength.
The Portland Trail Blazers fought past San Antonio at home Monday night while preparing for the rematch in San Antonio on Friday. The Spurs were without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tiago Splitter, and the Blazers looked tired coming off a five-game road trip.
Damian Lillard had 23 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points and 14 boards.
The energy level for the first quarter could not have been lower, as it honestly seemed as though both teams were exhausted. Wesley Matthews scored 10 in the first, but the other starters combined to shoot 3-of-10 for six points. Will Barton hit a three at the buzzer as the bench helped keep the Spurs at bay, leading 23-20 after one.
The teams traded runs in the second quarter, with an 8-0 Portland run matched by an 11-2 San Antonio streak. Joel Freeland and Chris Kaman had a solid quarter of work versus San Antonio's undersized front line, with the duo combining for six points and four rebounds in the period. Lillard came alive, scoring eight in the period along with snatching two steals, but left near the end of the quarter with an apparent ankle injury. Steve Blake replaced Lillard. Despite Lillard's exit, the Blazers led by five at halftime. Lillard would return for the second half after having his ankle taped.
The start of the second half was a good news/bad news situation. The good news was that LaMarcus Aldridge showed he was the best player on the court for either team, scoring 14 points in the period, grabbing two offensive rebounds, and leading the Blazers to an eight point lead after three quarters. The bad news was for Robin Lopez, whose hand hit the head of Boris Diaw. Lopez removed himself from the game and went into the locker room for examination. He did not return.
While Lillard and Aldridge cooled off a bit in the fourth, the bench continued to be a factor. Joel Freeland had four, Chris Kaman had 4 of his 11, and Thomas Robinson got in on the action in relief of Lopez. Kyle Anderson had a career-high 15 for San Antonio, but it was not enough as Portland sealed the victory.
Matthews finished with 14. Allen Crabbe had eight off the bench, while Robinson had 7.
Robin Lopez has a fractured hand. Terry Stotts says he will be out "a while."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
Stotts said he has not yet decided how the rotation will shake out with @rolopez42 out indefinitely, but assume @ChrisKaman gets the call.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
"Now where's your vineyard?" - Stotts to Popovich in the hallway— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 16, 2014
Lopez is in the locker room with a huge wrap around his right hand— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
He said he thinks there might be two breaks, though he's not sure. Says he's being re-evaluated tomorrow.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
Lopez out with fracture of the hand ...no timeline for his return #Blazers #RipCity pic.twitter.com/ofvejqD2HJ— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) December 16, 2014
Some good news on the Blazers front. Source says x-Rays on CJ McCollum came back good. Expected to return to full contact practice tomorrow.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) December 16, 2014
Lopez said he thought he hit is hand on Aron Baynes, though he said it could have been "some Spur"— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
Robin Lopez was wearing a large gauze wrap/cast around fractured right hand after game. Said initial tests suggest he broke it in 2 places.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) December 16, 2014
"I did hear it pop, but I didn’t feel any pain or anything, so I was just trying to shake it off." — Robin Lopez— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
. @aldridge_12 on playing without @rolopez42: "I don't like it, I don't like it, I don't like it. I can't get past that I don't like it."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
. @Dame_Lillard on playing without @rolopez42: "I don't even want to have to think about playing without RoLo."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
Terry Stotts usually writes the quarter by quarter DefRtg on the white board in the Blazers locker room. Tonight had 119 in 3Q underlined— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 16, 2014
RoLo talking about having not missed a game in a while, prompting Will Barton to knock on wood. RoLo: "Well, it's already broken, so… "— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 16, 2014
More Dame on RoLo: "He’s the most unselfish guy on our team."— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 16, 2014
"We have to sure up our defense on-ball because we won't have the rim protector like RoLo." -- Wesley Matthews— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) December 16, 2014