SAN ANTONIO – The Trail Blazers jumped out to a good start, like they have done in numerous games so far this season, but the difference on Saturday night vs. the Spurs was that the Blazers were able to come up with big plays in the finals seconds.
Of course, San Antonio made its run in the third quarter. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was hit with two technical fouls within seconds of each other in the third period.
With no Coach Pop, Becky Hammon became the first female acting head coach in the league since she is officially listed as San Antonio’s first assistant. Hammon and Tim Duncan worked together to handle timeouts.
The move by Pop to get tossed looked like his way of lighting a fire under his team.
It worked until a loose ball foul on DeMar DeRozan meant two free throws for Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside sank them both and then came up with a big rebound in the final seconds.
FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 121, Spurs 116
Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s win:
1. Portland lets it fly from three
Multiple Blazers were getting in on the action from three-point range. Whether it was Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, or Mario Hezonja, there were plenty of made threes on Saturday night.
Rookie Nassir Little, who has been labeled as a guy that needs to work on his shot from deep, had one early from the corner. Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave Little the starting nod at power forward for the second straight game. Little also assisted on a couple of threes as well.
2. Whiteside making his presence known
Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside went to work early on both ends. Whiteside forced LaMarcus Aldridge out of the paint. LA shot from three, and went to his fadeaway jumper more often than not as to not take it to the rim against Whiteside. On the other end of the ball, Whiteside started the game a perfect 4-for-4. He wasn’t as effective in the pick and roll in the second half.
3. CJ is back
After what he has called a slow start to the season offensively, CJ McCollum was cooking on Saturday night. He was efficient from three, and was able to score in a variety of ways. He looked like his old self, and the Blazers needed every bit of McCollum’s 32 points.
Up Next: Portland continues its six-game trip with game number two in Houston on Monday night. The Blazers and Rockets tip-off at 5:00pm PT.
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