SAN ANTONIO – In the Blazers first second night of a back-to-back this season, Portland started the game with an extra pep in their step vs. the Spurs.
Through the first quarter, it looked as if the Blazers were going to steamroll the Spurs. Portland jumped out to a 23-4 lead after hitting a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range.
But, as goes the NBA, the Spurs went on a run to close out the first half, and the Blazers had to settle with six-point lead at the break after leading by as many as 19 points.
Chalk it up to the Spurs second half adjustments, to the Blazers playing on the road for the second straight night, or to the Blazers playing with different lineups, but one thing is certain: Portland struggled offensively in the second half.
By the fourth quarter, the Blazers looked like they were forcing a lot of their shots, and San Antonio took advantage of Portland’s lackluster offense. A late push by Damian Lillard helped Portland take the game down to the wire, and had the Spurs scrambling. But, San Antonio managed to hold on for the win.
FINAL BOX SCORE: Spurs 113, Trail Blazers 110
Here are three quick takeaways from Monday’s loss:
1. A team effort without Collins
Anthony Tolliver got the start in the place of the injured Zach Collins (left shoulder); just as Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said pregame, filling Collins’ role would be by committee.
Fortunately for the Blazers, the Spurs have a small-ball starting lineup with LaMarcus Aldridge at center. Hassan Whiteisde, Anthony Tolliver, and Skal Labissiere all saw time guarding Aldridge. The combination of bigs did a solid job containing LA until midway through the fourth quarter.
As for Collins, he will be ‘further evaluated’ when the team returns to Portland late Wednesday night.
2. DeRozan went to work in the second half
DeMar DeRozan was a tough cover for Portland. Once the Spurs All-Star wing knew the game was within reach, he went on the attack. Whether it was in a fastbreak situation or a half court set, DeRozan was scoring in bunches.
3. Rough night for Lillard
Damian Lillard wasn’t able to get much of anything going offensively. Lillard had a difficult time at the rim, where the Spurs would meet him with a block or he just wasn’t able to finish.
The Blazers All-Star point guard also racked up personal fouls and try as he might, he wasn’t able to get into any sort of a rhythm going until the final two minutes of the game when he hit two consecutive threes down the stretch to make it interesting again. It was just a little too late for Portland to come out on top.
Up Next: The Blazers conclude their four-game road trip on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. The Blazers and Thunder tip-off at 5:00pm PT.
Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!