Second unit can't stop Spurs skid


George HillWith four players out for the San Antonio Spurs last night, the odds were stacked against them from the start. Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess joined Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan as spectators, while several second unit players were asked to step into starting roles.

“I think we’re good enough to do that,” George Hill said. “I think the Spurs organization has enough guys that can go in and fill spots and give 100% every night. You have to give our guys credit for doing that tonight”

While they made it much more competitive than most expected, it wasn’t enough to stop them from losing their fourth consecutive game, 92-100.

While the Spurs seemed well on their way to ending their streak by outscoring the Trailblazers 21-9 in the third quarter and building up an eight point advantage in the fourth quarter, they watched their lead and game slip away on a 15-1 run by Portland.

While the injuries brought another loss and decreased the gap between the Lakers and Spurs for the first seed, it also gave some little-used players a chance to play some big minutes and show what they are capable of.

James Anderson, who had played a total of 10 minutes in his last three games, was inserted into the starting lineup and scored his first five points in the first quarter, while also defending on the perimeter well.

Tiago Splitter continues to play well in Duncan’s absence. He finished with 14 points and nice rebounds, and helped limit LaMarcus Aldridge to just nine points. Steve Novak, Danny Green, Gary Neal and Chris Quinn also chipped in with a combined 30 points off the bench.

“I liked the way everybody played,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought everybody busted their noodles on defense and shared the ball on offense. George Hill and Tiago were really special for us tonight.”

It was Hill, who would lead the Spurs their second straight game, after scoring 30 against Memphis. Hill was aggressive going to the basket all game. He finished with a game-high 27 points, six assists and one steal.
With the loss, the Spurs are now 57-17 on the season and they have a 3.5 game advantage over the Lakers with eight games remaining. With their win over the Spurs, the Blazers have won the season series 3-1.