Portland Trail Blazers vs San Antonio Spurs: Takeaways
By Michael Rehome
The San Antonio Spurs (58-10) won their 34th straight at home by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers (35-34) 118-110 on Thursday night.
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Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the silver and black as they scored 22 points each to win their 34th straight game this season at home and to secure the second-best home start in a season in league-history. San Antonio only trails the 37 wins by the Chicago Bulls during their historic 72-victory season in 1995-96.
The Orlando Magic won 33 straight to open that same season.The Spurs exploded in the third quarter outscoring the Blazers 39-24. With their lead growing heading into the fourth quarter, it gives San Antonio a chance to rest the starters and give others time on the floor.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker had 18 points and a season-high 16 assists, just missing out on matching his career high when Aldridge missed a 19-foot jumper with 2:37 remaining. Parker played as good as he has all-year. Gregg Popovich approved of his play as he told the media he was a “great floor general”.
“He was great,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He ran the show, picked on a couple of jumpers here and there when they left him open. He really was a great floor general tonight.”
San Antonio continued their strong shooting at the AT&T Center. They shot 52-percent while assisting on 35 of their 45 made baskets.
San Antonio only had two turnovers in the first half but had trouble gaining any separation from Portland.
Blazers were led by C.J. McCollum who had 26 points and Damian Lillard had 23 for Portland, including a combined 24 points in the first half.
The Spurs dominated the start of the second half. San Antonio opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run, with Aldridge scoring seven points and Leonard igniting the run with a 3-pointer. Ball movement was key in the Spurs clinic of a third quarter. San Antonio had 14 assists on 16 field goals in a 39-point third quarter.
Aldridge has averaged 17 points and six rebounds in three games against the Trail Blazers this season.
The talk before the Spurs win over the Blazers was Saturday’s showdown with Golden State. The Warriors and the Spurs have both clinched playoff berths and division titles and are on pace to finish with two of the three best single-season records in league history.
Leonard continues to be a menace on both sides of the ball for opponents. The 6-foot-7 forward disrupts passes, makes shooters think twice about their shots and offensively, he is a stud. Leonard has grown to becoming if not already, the best two-way player in the game today. Night in, night out, he goes out and does the job without any showboating of sort. No trash talking. Just playing basketball.
Truly a model of not only Popovich but also the way the franchise is set up from top to bottom. The plays that Leonard accounts for almost seem to easy for him. Against the Blazers, Leonard made an acrobatic shot in the first quarter. After he twisted his body and made the basket, Leonard walked away as if it was another day at the office.
Mar 17, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
In the 39 point third quarter, Leonard had 11 points providing a boost on offense and defense. Leonard disrupted a 3-point attempt and drained his own 3 on the ensuing possession.
With the win, the Spurs are now 4-0 on their current five-game homestand beating playoff-bound Chicago, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland by an average of 11.3 points.
-Patty Mills Provides Spark
Mills who has been playing at a high-level lately gave a much needed spark from the bench as he finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He was also 3-of-4 from 3.
-Huge Third Quarter
Spurs were on fire in the third quarter coming out of halftime. They outscored the Blazers 39-24 which gave them a 95-79 lead heading into the final quarter.
-Tony Parker Exceptional
Parker had a double-double. He finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He also added 16 assists. Parker in 27 minutes of play looked more aggressive on the offensive end of the ball, something that we have not seen. With Leonard and Aldridge caring the scoring load, getting this type of production from Parker will definitely be a plus.
Star Performer: Tony Parker
He made an impact on the game. Parker simply controlled the game. With picking his spots on the offensive end whether to take a jumper, drive into the lane, Parker did a great job. His teammates made his job easy in their win against the Blazers.
—Tim Duncan: 11 points, 7 rebounds
—Danny Green: 7 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds
—Boris Diaw: 9 points, 3 rebounds
—Kevin Martin: 8 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds
–Spurs were 8-of-16 from 3-PT (50-percent)
–Spurs had 35 assists.
–Spurs had 11 blocks