The Portland Trail Blazers put forth a solid effort in San Antonio, but ultimately lost to the Spurs 110-118. Their undoing came in the third quarter, when the Spurs opened on a 10-0 run and held the lead. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room.
You mentioned playing tough teams. Do you have to remind yourself of that when you’re going through a stretch like this to keep from maybe getting discouraged or…?
I mean, you can’t use it as a crutch, because we’re competitors. We go in every game, we say we going to win. That’s the bottom line. You can’t say ‘They’ve never lost on their home court’ and come in and make it acceptable in your mind, because it can affect the way you play. I think we just haven’t played well enough to win these last three games on the road.
We’re still where we have been. Fortunately for us because everybody else is losing as well. It’s tightened up a lot, but I think we’ll be fine. We’ve played against a lot of really good teams and that’s what happens when you play really good teams. If you don’t play a damn-near perfect game on their court, you’ll get beat. Golden State, Memphis, and OKC are the top-3 teams in the West, and we’ve gone all through those teams’ court and they played like top-3 teams and we haven’t played very well. So you’ll get the result that we’ve gotten if we have the type of performances we’ve had.
Gerald, what can you take from this loss?
We played them hard. I mean, that’s a good team. Both sides of the floor, played them hard. You know, just couldn’t get enough stops I think at crucial moments and the start of the third was a little bit slow. It’s a loss, but it’s positive for us because we felt like we played well, we just couldn’t come up with some of the plays.
Coming in, you kind of know that the Spurs have that ability to break away really quick. Could you sense that at the third? That ‘Oh, God. This is one of those runs.’?
Yeah, I mean, we knew we had to get a good start to the third quarter. We didn’t, for whatever reasons, and they got up, but we kept playing. They pulled away a little bit, but I think we fought throughout the whole game. You make mistakes and they’re going to take advantage of them, but we played hard.
Obviously now, two really important games to end this trip. What’s your guys’ mindset entering tomorrow night?
Win them both. We’ve got New Orleans and then Dallas. We just got to take it a game at a time. Spurs game is over with and just focus in on their personnel, focus in on our game and how we want to play, and obviously play hard and just see how it goes.
We’ve been up and down but tonight I thought we played well. We executed well; we got good shots on most of our possessions, didn’t have a lot of turnovers, and we defended well in spurts. I think once they went on that 10-0 run, that was the difference in the game. We were never able to kind of get under single-digits, and we kind of playing and fighting from behind the rest of the night.
Can you put your finger on why that started at the start of the second half?
They’re a good team. That’s what happen; they go on runs. They went on a run against the Clippers, game was close, and you looked up and they were down 17, so just got to continue to fight and learn from these type of situations. You know, playing a veteran team at their house—there’s a reason why they haven’t lost—they’re going to come out and they’re going to execute. I’m sure Pop got into them at halftime and you seen it. They were more locked in, they were making shots, they were defending better. Even though we got the same looks we normally get, we didn’t make them.
What’d you see from Chris [Kaman] tonight?
He looked good. He’s looked good in practice; he’s looked good in 2-on-2, 3-on-3, 4-on-4, and he’s a gamer. It’s high standard for us to expect him to be able to perform after not playing for months at a time, but he’s the ultimate professional; he works hard; he gets his shots up; he gets his reps in, and he knows what he needs to do to get his body ready each and every game.
I think it helped that I got a couple reps up last game in the OKC game, and then the game before I played a few minutes as well, so it’s been kind of a steady—unfortunately—it’s been kind of a steady consistent minutes toward the end of the game. Then with Meyers [Leonard] going down, I think just trying to fill in when I can. Obviously, I still feel pretty good about myself being 33 years old and going into my 13th season, so I just tried to play as hard as I could and do what I could. I didn’t try to do too much and I was just trying to be patient and effective as I could be.
Can you take anything away from this game?
I mean, this is a good basketball team we just played. No one’s going against that. I mean, they’re undefeated at home like the Warriors and they’ve always been tough. They’ve had 50-win seasons 17 years in a row, I think. They’ve always done a great job here of being effective and tough to beat. I know I think I’ve only won here once in my career—13 years—maybe twice. We knew it was going to be a tough game. I thought we played pretty well for the first two quarters, and then we kind of came out in the third quarter and struggled. I would say we played well for, like, three-and-a-half quarters. It was just that half of the third quarter that got us down and we just couldn’t come back.
Now that Meyers is going to be out for probably at least a little bit of time—
You’d have to ask Terry [Stotts] about that.
Does that change the way you will approach these games?
You’d have to ask Terry about that one, because I don’t—
The way you approach games.
Well, it just depends on if I’m playing. Usually coach gives me a heads up, so if the team plays a small lineup—I know Dallas is playing a small lineup with [Chandler] Parsons at the four—so I don’t think I’m going to be guarding him.