San Antonio Spurs

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Spurs

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Spurs

Talk about a roller coaster of emotion, because that is what Blazer fans dealt with in San Antonio on Saturday night.

The Blazers, without Carmelo Anthony and in desperate need of a win, jumped on the Spurs early. Portland held the 41-23 lead at the end of the first, and the lead ballooned to 23 just minutes into the second quarter.

It looked like the type of game the Blazers would pull away and coast to victory. But the Spurs wouldn’t have it.

In the second half, Gregg Popovich earned two quick techs and was ejected, jolting a little life back into the Spurs. San Antonio went on a 32-13 run following the ejection and had a double-digit lead in the fourth and final quarter.

Just when it looked like the Spurs had flipped the script, Portland flipped it right back. The Blazers clawed back and ended the game on a 17-6 run to grab the lead, and the victory over the Spurs.

Final score in San Antonio: Blazers 121 – Spurs 116.

 

QUOTABLES:

Nassir Little on the key to winning:

I mean, down the stretch we got key stops, and I think honestly the biggest play of the game was when I tipped it off of Rudy (Gay) and got the extra possession and Rodney (Hood) got the and-one to put us up three.

CJ McCollum on importance of the victory:

Super important. We took a loss to Sacramento then another loss at home. We got another long road trip, four games under .500, it was huge for us to not only get a win on the road to begin the trip, but just to start the trip the right way. 

Coach Stotts on what the win means:

Well, to win it in the fourth quarter, you know our defense, we had held them to 20 (points) in the fourth quarter, that's big for us. I think defensively in the fourth quarter, that was really important for us. It's been our Achilles heel lately, so hopefully, that will reinforce them.

BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA:

 

LATEST NEWS AND ANALYSIS:

Whiteside leads Trail Blazer "other guys" to win at San Antonio

Trail Blazers ordered up a side dose of energy in the form of Nassir Little 

How a duo of techs ALMOST doomed the Trail Blazers

Instant Analysis: Blazers rally late vs. Becky Hammon & Tim Duncan led Spurs to save the win 

Highlights: A wild game in San Antonio ends in Blazer win

Hassan Whiteside leads Trail Blazer "other guys" to win at San Antonio

Hassan Whiteside leads Trail Blazer "other guys" to win at San Antonio

That win in San Antonio Saturday night for the Trail Blazers?

It was engineered by the “other guys.”

With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum – usually the ones carrying the heavy load in the fourth quarter – suffering through 1-7 efforts from the field in the final period, their teammates stepped up and forged a rally from a 15-point deficit with 8:32 left to a 121-116 win over the Spurs.

And it was the rest of the starting lineup that provided a good deal of the firepower. In the fourth quarter:

  • Rodney Hood hit both his field goal attempts and only free throw opportunity, including a huge three-point play with 1:21 to go that pushed his team into its first lead of the period.
  • Nassir Little had five rebounds in the quarter, some outstanding defense, big hustle plays and a resounding dunk.
  • And Hassan Whiteside was the biggest of them all, hitting four of his five shots from the floor, all three of his free throws, grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots – all in the final quarter. Whiteside finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and made perhaps the biggest play of the game with 37.1 seconds left and his team clinging to a one-point lead. He made a terrific block on DeMar DeRozan and then drew a loose-ball foul on DeRozan, who grabbed Whiteside’s shirt and pulled him down after the blocked shot.

Whiteside, a 57.5 percent career foul shooter, calmly made both free throws to push the lead to three.

“Hassan played a terrific fourth quarter at both ends,” Coach Terry Stotts said.  “He scored for us, he finished around the bucket, made his free throws. He was a big presence at the rim. He deterred a lot of shots. He really made a difference.”

Portland once led this game by 23 and had an 18-point lead after the first quarter. But the Spurs caught fire after Coach Gregg Popovich got booted out of the game at the 9:37 mark of the third period and climbed all the way into that 15-point lead.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Whiteside said. “The difference in this one is we communicated down the stretch. We got stops at the end. I was telling the guys, we worked too hard to let this one slip away. We were just locked in on defense. Everybody just said it’s winning time. We definitely need a sense of urgency, but it’s not like the season is over. Guys are getting better. I’m doing things I’ve never done before in my career. I’m passing the ball more. Making backdoor passes to Dame. It’s the system here.”

The Trail Blazers were not sharing the ball early in the fourth quarter and missing quick shots. The big problem was a lot of one-pass or no-pass possessions before Stotts seemed to call for some multiple-player weaves, just to get the ball moving. The result was an 11-0 run that got the Blazers back in the game.

“Defensively, the fourth quarter was really important for us,” Stotts said. “We came up with a lot of loose balls and got some steals. It was a great game, big for us.”

Portland plays Game 2 of this six-game junket Monday in Houston.

How a duo of techs ALMOST doomed the Trail Blazers

How a duo of techs ALMOST doomed the Trail Blazers

How many times have you watched your favorite team in a mid-game slump, only to yell at the screen “coach really needs to get a tech right now! Pump some life back into this team!”?

Well, that is exactly what Spurs fans thought about their team on Saturday night, and it’s exactly what head coach Gregg Popovich did.

With 9:37 left in the third quarter and the Spurs trailing 77-64, Popovich had had enough. Upset with a call, he voiced his displeasure to the refs. Apparently, he said the magic words because he was handed two technical fouls on the spot and was promptly ejected.

Damian Lillard hit two technical free throws to makes it a 15-point game, but the Blazers' good feelings were ripped away shortly thereafter. 

Popovich walked out of the tunnel to the roar of the Spurs faithful showing their approval. There was energy in the stadium, and energy back in the Spurs lineup. With newfound life, the Spurs went on a 30-11 run to end the quarter and take the six-point lead into the fourth.

San Antonio only built on the lead from there, and it looked like it was going to be another big lead blown by the Blazers. But this is not how this one ended.

The Blazers showed poise, they showed character, and with their backs against the wall they were able to claw back and counter. Portland ended the game on a 17-6 run of its own, grabbing the lead back from the Spurs and the win with it.

The Blazers came out victorious, but they can still take a few notes from Pop and Co.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to shake it up. To do the unconventional in an attempt to ignite a fire. When Popovich earned the ejection, the Spurs regained their focus. Tim Duncan and Becky Hammon took the reigns and guided the ship and it almost worked.

However, the Blazers were ready for the challenge. Finishing strong has been hard for the Blazers early this season, but they were able to put the pieces together against the Spurs.

The lesson here is - next time you are watching the Blazers and think Stotts should take one for the team… you might get what you wished for. On Saturday, the Blazers saw just how effective that strategy can be.  

 

Instant Analysis: Blazers rally late vs. Becky Hammon & Tim Duncan led Spurs to save the win

Instant Analysis: Blazers rally late vs. Becky Hammon & Tim Duncan led Spurs to save the win

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.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

 

Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast below:

ICYMI - Highlights: Damian Lillard caught fire in the 4th quarter

ICYMI - Highlights: Damian Lillard caught fire in the 4th quarter

Damian Lillard scored 18pts in the final 3:50 of Monday's game vs. the Spurs. No, that is not a typo. 18. 

Enjoy the short highlight above looking back at some of the more impressive baskets from the spurt!

While Portland may have lost, despite getting four good looks at the basket to tie the game, they learn and move on with a big game vs. Oklahoma City looming.

You can catch the game on NBCS Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers, and stream it on the 'My Teams' App.

In the meantime, also check out the latest from Blazers Insiders Dwight Jaynes and Jamie Hudson:

Instant Analysis: Spurs hold on, overcome extremely slow start to beat Blazers
A Trail Blazer Identity: Never out of a game
The alarm clock didn't go off quite in time for Trail Blazers to beat Spurs
Highlight: Epic comeback falls short in San Antonio
Social media reacts to Damian Lillard's huge fourth quarter
More updates from Zach Collins on his injured shoulder

 

A Trail Blazer Identity: Never out of a game

A Trail Blazer Identity: Never out of a game

SAN ANTONIO -- In the end, it was a little too late for the Trail Blazers, but boy, was it an exciting finish. 

In the final 17 seconds of Monday night’s Blazers-Spurs game, Portland had four separate three-point attempts that could have had the Blazers sealing their fate for a second consecutive come from behind victory.

The final three-point attempt by Blazer All-Star Damian Lillard with 1 tick left on the clock was literally half way down the basket before the ball rolled out and the clock ran out. The Spurs held on to win 113-110.

“It did go in,” Lillard said with a smirk when talking about his last second shot.

“I looked right at it and it was halfway down, and it actually came out, but I had two opportunities back-to-back.  I don’t miss two. If I miss one, I can live with that, but it’s a little harder because I had two opportunities.”

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts didn’t waver midway through the fourth quarter, even though there was a chance to.

He decided not to take his starters out of the game, despite being down 19 points with 5:48 remaining on the clock.

“I was proud of the way we competed to get back into it. You don’t see too many games where both teams have a 19-point lead and it comes down to the last shot,” Stotts said.

Lillard scored 18 points in the final 3:50 of the game.

The late push by the Blazer team captain was not only done by his scoring, but by his leadership during the final timeouts.

“We went into the half with the lead, terrible third quarter, but we just kept coming to our huddle, saying, ‘keep pushing, keep going, keep working. There’s a lot of time, long game.’ Everybody was kind of echoing the same thing,” Lillard said.

“Somehow Dame was able to will us to get back into the game,” Stotts added.

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.

However, the NBA is all about teams going on runs.

And for coach Stotts, he never counts his team out.

“Anything can happen in this league,” Stotts said.  “And, you just never know. That’s why you see a lot of coaches that are reluctant to pull the plug on the game because you never know what can happen.”

CJ McCollum, who finished with 27 points, believes the Blazers have always and will continue to claw their way back into games.

“We felt like we could give it one or two more last ditch efforts, and the ball started to go in. We started to get stops and I think our defense fed off our offense,” McCollum said. 

Despite Lillard not being able to get into a rhythm leading up to crunch time, his teammates know how ‘special’ he can be down the stretch.

That’s how Kent Bazemore described Lillard’s late-game heroics.

“We easily could’ve laid down,” Bazemore said. “But, with special guys on your team, Dame 18 straight in the fourth, that’s special. To have a wildcard like that, he can take us places.”  

Even the Spurs had to give it up to Lillard.

“It happened out of nowhere,” Spurs guard Bryn Forbes said postgame.  “He only had 10 [points] at the start of the fourth and [then] just went off. It’s hard to stop a guy like that when he gets going. One of the most talented players in the NBA and he had a great fourth quarter.”

Now that the Blazers are without Zach Collins (left shoulder) for the foreseeable future, the Blazers’ identity of willing their way to victory no matter how big the deficit will be something Portland will need to rely on even more.   

The alarm clock didn't go off quite in time for Trail Blazers to beat Spurs

The alarm clock didn't go off quite in time for Trail Blazers to beat Spurs

SAN ANTONIO – The Trail Blazers had every right to be tired Monday night for their game vs. the San Antonio Spurs. They were playing the night after a tough, emotional win at Dallas that saw them make a 19-point comeback.

But grabbing a nap through the middle of Monday's game was certainly not the appropriate thing to do.

Portland jumped to a 23-4 lead halfway through the first quarter before hauling out the blankets and pillows. Things were looking good and the Blazers were finally making three-point shots at a high rate, knocking down their first five in a row.

But it didn’t last. The snoring began and the scoring stopped.

The Spurs turned a 19-point deficit into a 19-point lead, which they held with 5:48 to go in the game – at 101-86 -- outscoring the Trail Blazers by 38 points, before an alarm clock went off somewhere near the Portland bench.

The Trail Blazers went to work, getting stops at one end and converting them into points at the other. Damian Lillard, working his way through a difficult shooting night, suddenly caught fire, scoring his team’s final 18 points.

But it wasn’t quite enough, as the Spurs held on for a 113-110 win.

A game in which each team held a 19-point lead went down to the final horn, though, as Lillard missed two three-pointers that would have sent the game into overtime – the last one as time expired. And that one WENT IN – but it popped back out.

“It did go in,” Lillard said of his corner three, which rattled around the rim before kicking back out. "I mean, I looked right at it. It was halfway down and it actually came out. I got two opportunities back-to-back and I don’t miss two of them. If I miss one, I can live with that, but it’s a little harder because I had two opportunities.”

It was a physical game and Lillard took a pretty good beating on his drives to the rim. He was 3-16 from the field heading into the fourth quarter and missed his first three shots in the final period. But he made six of his final nine to spark the rally.

The Blazers were fortunate to get a final chance to tie it. After Lillard drew his team within three with 40.4 seconds to go with a driving layup, DeMar DeRozan missed a jumper and first Lillard and then Tolliver missed threes that would have tied the score.

Portland had no choice but to foul DeRozan with 7.9 seconds left, sending the career 82.7 percent free-throw shooter to the line. But he missed both foul shots and the Blazers won a video replay for possession of the rebound.

Lillard, thinking the Spurs would do what most teams do in that situation with a three-point lead – foul – and he lofted a three-point shot off one leg but didn’t get the anticipated foul and the shot missed.

However, Portland got the ball back, setting up Lillard’s final misses.

“I was really proud of the way we competed to get back into it,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “Offensively, we really struggled for most of the second half. Somehow, Dame was able to will us to get back into the game. I don’t know if fatigue played a part of it. I thought the one-legger was in. I thought the other one was in. I thought Anthony Tolliver’s was in. I think we had four threes to tie the game. I thought one of them would go.”

But that’s been part of the Trail Blazers’ problems this season. In a league where games most nights are being decided by three-point shooting, they aren’t shooting them with high volume or high percentage.

Coming into the game, they were shooting just 33.8 percent from three and then shot 30.3 percent against the Spurs. Even after making their first five attempts. And they have taken 28 fewer attempts than their opponents through four games.

San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich probably summed up the game best when talking about Portland’s hot start from the three-point line:

“We shot jumpers, they shot jumpers,” he said. “Ours didn’t go in, theirs did. It doesn’t have much to do with anything other than that.”

Which is getting to be a description of an average game in the NBA.

Social media reacts to Damian Lillard's huge fourth quarter

Social media reacts to Damian Lillard's huge fourth quarter

What a game this one ended up being...

The Blazers jumped on the Spurs early, leading by as many as 19-points in the first quarter. But the wheels came off the wagon shortly after that.

San Antonio outscored Portland 63-38 over the next two quarters and had a 19-point lead with 5:48 left in the game. Then, the comeback happened.

Portland started to chip away and Damian Lillard caught fire. The Blazers' star guard scored the team's final 18 points, and he did it in just the final 3:50 of action. That is impressive.

Asked about the performance postgame, Coach Stotts said,  

 He's remarkable, he's done remarkable things. I think everyone was appreciating what he was doing at the same time knowing we had a chance to win the game... to have the will to do that on the road when you are down 15 is impressive.

Social media, even in defeat, was simply amazed by the heroics from Lillard:

https://twitter.com/rican_mamba/status/1189015305223393280

Instant Analysis: Spurs hold on, overcome extremely slow start to beat Blazers

Instant Analysis: Spurs hold on, overcome extremely slow start to beat Blazers

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!

Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers will have their doctors in Portland 'further evaluate' Zach Collins

stotts_in_char.jpg
USA Today Images

Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers will have their doctors in Portland 'further evaluate' Zach Collins

SAN ANTONIO – On the second night of a back-to-back for the Trail Blazers, we got a chance to catch up with Blazers head coach Terry Stotts before the game tipped off. You can catch all the action between Portland and San Antonio at 5:30p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App.

The Blazers will be without Zach Collins, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Portland’s win over Dallas last night.

Coach Stotts gave an update on Collins during his pregame interview saying that Collins did have an MRI this morning, but that the Blazers are going to have their team doctors back in Portland ‘further evaluate’ Collins before anything else is announced.

Stotts added that Collins will be out tonight and “will most likely not” play in Oklahoma City in the final game of the road trip.

He also mentioned we should expect more minutes for Mario Hezonja, Skal Labissiere, and Anthony Tolliver.

“Rodney Hood has been finishing games at four, so it’ll be kind of by committee and depending on the matchups,” Stotts added.

He was not ready to announce who would be starting in place of the injured Collins tonight against the Spurs.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!