For Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Thursday evening in Portland was a season-high type of night. Lillard led the Blazers to a 98-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in which the rookie scored 29 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished six assists.
For the Spurs, it was yet another back-to-back game on the road. With an aging core and the team still missing its first and second small forwards, the Spurs showed signs of fatigue as they turned the ball over 19 times, and just couldn’t put a consistent quarter together.
Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ attempted comeback in Portland that was silenced by a Nicolas Batum three pointer late in the fourth quarter.
First Quarter: Spurs 21, Blazers 23
Shooting: Spurs 47%, Blazers 46%
Turnovers: Spurs 6, Blazers 5
Turnovers were a problem for both teams as the first quarter was a turnover-fest where both teams couldn’t get into a routine on offense because of their turnovers. After the first, Tim Duncan (16 points, 6 rebounds) lead the Spurs with six points, while LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points) led the Blazers with 10 points, mainly when DeJuan Blair was on the floor defending him.
“For our part, too many turnovers,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to TNT’s Craig Sager after the first quarter.
Second Quarter: Spurs 45, Blazers 49
Shooting: Spurs 49%, Blazers 44%
Turnovers: Spurs 10, Blazers 7
The Spurs limited themselves again on offense in the second quarter by continuing to turn the ball over. The defense held its ground for the majority of the quarter, but late in the quarter the Blazers went on a an 8-0 run to boost their lead to seven points, but the Spurs found the answers to go into halftime down two points. By half, Duncan had 10 points, Tony Parker (21 points, 5 assists) had nine points, Tiago Splitter (12 points, 7 rebounds) had eight points, and Manu Ginobili (12 points, 7 asssists) had six. Aldridge and Lillard each scored 12 points for the Blazers, while Luke Babbitt (12 points) scored eight points off the bench.
Third Quarter: Spurs 69, Blazers 76
Shooting: Spurs 47%, Blazers 45%
Turnovers: Spurs 15, Blazers 10
As the Spurs began to look tired in the third, Lillard put his foot on the gas by pouring in 12 points for the Blazers. The Blazers went on a late 11-2 run that gave them an 11-point lead, but then the Spurs made a late 8-4 run to close the quarter. The Spurs just weren’t moving the ball on offense and were struggling to rotate on defense, signs of exhaustion.
Fourth Quarter: Spurs 90, Blazers 98
Shooting: Spurs 46%, Blazers 46%
Turnovers: Spurs 19, Blazers 14
The fourth quarter remained the same as the previous three quarters. Lillard continued to thrive, while the Spurs’ offense couldn’t consistently execute due to what looked to be fatigue, and the turnovers continued to be an issue. The Spurs at one point fell behind by as much as 11 points, but they managed to get the Blazers’ lead down to three points, but a Batum (11 points, 8 assists) three pointer in the final minute was the dagger that sealed the game.
With the loss, the Spurs have now lost back-to-back games and fall to 18-6 on the season. The team will fly back to San Antonio where they’ll prepare to host the visiting Boston Celtics in the AT&T Center on Monday.