San Antonio had already lost once to Portland in their home arena this year. They were not about to let it happen again.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points, Damian Lillard had 23, but the San Antonio Spurs pounded the Portland Trail Blazers 110-96 Friday night at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The first quarter became an offensive bonanza for both teams. Portland shot 60% from the field, San Antonio shot 56%, but the Spurs led in points off of turnovers, 9-4. Aldridge had nine in the period, Lillard had six, but the Spurs got 17 from their bench to build a seven point lead after one. At the six minute mark, Aldridge grabbed his 5,079th career rebound, passing Jerome Kersey for second all-time on the Trail Blazers rebound list.
San Antonio expanded their lead out to eleven in the second quarter on a poor sequence of events for Portland. Nicolas Batum committed a turnover, Tony Parker hit an open shot, Batum drove to the hoop and turned it over again while coach Terry Stotts yelled for a foul. Danny Green hit an open three, and Stotts got a technical foul for his troubles. A strong quarter by Lillard (eight points) and CJ McCollum (seven) kept Portland close, with the Spurs leading by eight at halftime.
The three point shot became Portland's enemy in the third quarter, with San Antonio hitting five of them, en route to an eighteen point advantage. When the starters were not able to get the Blazers back into the game, the bench stepped up with late scoring by Meyers Leonard, McCollum, and Thomas Robinson. Aldridge led the Blazers in the third quarter with eight, and Portland closed the gap to 12 after three quarters.
San Antonio continued to expand the lead in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach rather quickly. Only a late three by Allen Crabbe spared the Blazers their worst loss of the season.
McCollum finished with 17 points. Leonard had 12. Wesley Matthews finished with a season-low two points, and remains four threes away from Terry Porter for the Blazers all-time three point mark.
"Between our 16 turnovers and their 12 turnovers, they shot 20 more times. That’s pretty much the game right there." - Wes Matthews— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 17, 2015
Lillard said he turned his right ankle in the 1st half...was limping in the locker room. Said he'll be fine #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 17, 2015
Batum not making any excuses...told me the way he's playing is "unacceptable" #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 17, 2015
"San Antonio looked like the team that won the championship tonight" - Terry Stotts.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 17, 2015
Damian Lillard's succinct recap: "Tonight they just played really well and we didn’t"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 17, 2015