The Damian-less Portland Trail Blazers looked much-improved against the Kawhi-less San Antonio Spurs Friday night, but it wasn’t enough, falling 110-94. The Spurs eventually pulled away in the second half, despite a tougher Portland D. The Blazers struggled inside, as the Spurs dominated the rebound battle.
The Blazers were led by CJ McCollum, who single-handedly ran Portland’s offense to keep them ahead through the first half. Allen Crabbe and Moe Harkless also scored in double-figures.
The game opened with hot shooting all around from the Blazers. Moe Harkless and Shabazz Napier scored 8 points apiece, with 7 for McCollum. Portland’s defense shut down the Spurs, even forcing a Gregg Popovich timeout. The Blazers led 32-22 after one. But in the second, the three-pointers simply stopped falling for Portland. In the usual Spurs fashion, they slowly chipped away at the Blazers’ lead. Portland only led by 5 at halftime.
The tables slowly turned in the second half, as the Spurs took control. halfway through the third quarter, a Manu Ginobili three-pointer gave the Spurs their first lead since the opening minutes. Then the floodgates opened. Soon San Antonio’s lead passed 10. It reached 16 early in the fourth quarter. Before long, the Blazers were heading for the locker room.
The Blazers’ short road trip continues in Minnesota on Sunday, as the Blazers ring in the new year against the Timberwolves. But stay tuned, Ryan Rosback has more analysis of tonight’s game later.