Uh... Zach Collins revenge game?
The Portland Trail Blazers, playing the NBA equivalent of “Survivor” in personnel availability, were happy to just get out of the way and let the San Antonio Spurs run all over them Tuesday, getting thrashed at home 133-96.
This game came down to which team wanted to win more, and as it turned out, San Antonio was the only team that wanted to win. Simple as that.
It was a bit of an odd reunion for Collins, who played his first game in Portland since October 2019, which might as well have been an era ago. A lot of things have happened since then, including Collins finding a new team. The Blazers must look startlingly different than the group he remembers leaving just last summer. Imagine that scene from the TV show Community where Donald Glover walks into a room carrying pizza to find it on fire and in other various states of utter chaos - this is how I suspect he must have felt upon arrival.
He ended up being mostly a non-factor outside of garbage time, scoring 8 points, in 22 minutes as the Spurs’ backcourt went ballistic.
Portland was led by Ben McLemore’s 23 points off the bench. Drew Eubanks added a career-high 20 points to go along with 9 boards and 4 assists against his former team.
If tonight was supposed to be a humble “tank-off” between two teams hunting for better draft position, San Antonio didn’t get the the email. The Blazers showed up breezy and casual, ready to grab a bite to eat and maybe see a movie after, while the Spurs had already downed three Red Bulls and were ready to rage. San Antonio was in control from nearly the opening tip, outworking Portland at both ends and hitting threes like it were Robert Horry in disguise. Dejounte Murray and Devin Vassell each went 3/3 from deep in the quarter and the Spurs hit 9 total as they seized a huge early lead.
At the other end, the Blazers were sloppy with the ball, coughing it up six times, which led to San Antonio feasting on the fast break. In other words, the Spurs dominated at every level. Portland was not only failing to tread water, but sinking rapidly. Blazers trailed big 45-27 after one.
The second unit managed to give Portland a small gasp of air early in the second behind McLemore and Keon Johnson, who were able to get into a decent rhythm and knock down some shots. They helped the Blazers pull within 13 at 56-43, but the momentum was short lived. Murray and Vassell continued to torch the nets, and now were joined by Josh Richardson and Keldon Johnson, who had their own three-point hat tricks in the half. After a blink, San Antonio had rebuilt its lead again and then some. Spurs took an 80-53 lead into the break.
Third + Fourth Quarter
It didn’t get any better from there. San Antonio continued to pile it on well into garbage time.
Stay tuned for extended analysis from the game, coming soon!
The Blazers will get a day off before hosting the Houston Rockets Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.