When an NBA team allows their opponent to score 29, 32, and 33 points in three consecutive quarters, the result usually isn’t good.
Such was the case Saturday as the San Antonio Spurs suffered their first regular season loss at the hands of the Portland Trailblazers 115-105 in a game where defensive stops were rare and there were plenty of scoring opportunities.
Here’s the rundown of the game where Portland had six players finish in double-figures, the Spurs got a productive Tim Duncan back, and they saw a glimpse of what Marco Belinelli can do when it matters most.
Halftime: Spurs 39, Trail Blazers 50
Who won the half?
Portland – Led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard in the first half, the Blazers shot 54% in and put 29 points on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Portland held San Antonio to no more than 20 points in each of the first two quarters.
Who was most impressive by halftime?
Aldridge and Lillard – For the Blazers, it seemed like both Aldridge and Lillard each took a quarter as theirs. Aldridge went into the half with 14 points, while Lillard who get hot in the second quarter, and ended the half with 12 points. Aldridge was making his outside jump shots consistently while Lillard was scoring by driving and making 3-pointers off of screens.
Duncan – Duncan looked fresh after missing the last game and a half as he scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in the first half for San Antonio. Duncan’s points mainly came off his pick-and-pop game, while he also made a few buckets in the post.
Final: Spurs 105, Trail Blazers 115
Player(s) of the game
Lillard and his band – Lillard, who was responsible for handing the Spurs their worst loss of the Gregg Popovich era at home last year, continued to show that San Antonio is one of the teams he’d prefer to play based on his numbers. Lillard posted 25 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds in the win as the Spurs used a number of different defenders and looks, but they still couldn’t limit the young point guard. Along with Lillard was his sidekick Aldridge who finished the game with 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Two players who exploded in the second half for Portland at different spurts were Wesley Matthews (20 points) and Mo Williams (13 points). Robin Lopez also showed he was a great signing for Portland as he had a block on Duncan and score 12 points, while also grabbing six rebounds.
Duncan – Duncan continued to stay the most consistent Spur throughout the night on his way to 24 points and seven rebounds. Whether it was hitting his pick-and-pop jumpers or scoring in transition or the low block, Duncan showed at the age of 37, he can still be the main weapon for San Antonio.
Belinelli – In the fourth quarter, just after the Spurs fell behind by 13 points, Belinelli came in and provided an offensive outburst as he scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Belinelli showed his ability to come off screens and nail jumpers in crucial situations, while he also made some big 3-pointers on his own and out of timeouts, as Popovich called specific plays for him.
With Belinlli playing so well, Kawhi Leonard played very little in the fourth quarter as he had only scored nine points on nine shots just before the fourth quarter began.
Diaw – In three straight games now, Diaw is averaging 14 points per game as he once again scored 14 points on Saturday. He also provided five rebounds and threw four assists while shooting an efficient 6-of-7 from the field. As has been shown before, Diaw again continued to show when he’s aggressive on offense, he can score in a variety of ways: in the post, on the break, and from the outside.
With 46.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Spurs would find themselves down just four points (106-102). Lillard would take and miss a 3-pointer and as it had been a thorn in their side in game six of the NBA Finals, the inability to grab a defensive rebound in a clutch moment happened on Saturday as Nicolas Batum grabbed an offensive rebound and fed it to Matthews who dunked the ball. The Spurs had lost their moment to make a comeback by giving up an offensive rebound.
The Spurs will fly to Denver next where they’ll have two days of rest before playing the Nuggets on Tuesday. As of Saturday, the new-look Nuggets have yet to win a game (0-2). The Spurs are now 2-1 three games into the season.