The Portland Trail Blazers visited the Spurs on Saturday, resulting in an intense, pivotal game. With the help of a dominant Aldridge and vintage Ginobili, San Antonio picked up a decisive victory.
On Saturday, the Spurs hosted the Portland Trail Blazers. Coming into this game, the two teams had split their two-game series. This matchup was crucial for the Spurs considering how tight the Western Conference playoff race is. Both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have nearly the same record as the Spurs, won their games on Saturday. As a result, San Antonio needed to win in order to maintain their place in the standings.
Both Silver and Black fans and players recognized the gravity of this game. The AT&T Center was filled with a playoff-type atmosphere, and there was no shortage of hustle on the court.
As the game began, the Blazers’ pair of star guards, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, dominated. Considered by many to be one of the best backcourts in the league, the duo seemed unable to miss a shot. However, Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge returned fire and managed to keep the Spurs within six.
As the second quarter came to a close, Dejounte Murray euro-stepped past Jusuf Nurkic and drew a foul. An irate Nurkic was assessed a technical foul, bringing the crowd to its feet. After Patty Mills made the technical free throw, the Spurs trailed by just two points.
San Antonio started off the third quarter with gritty defense. Lillard continued to make shots, but McCollum began to struggle. This was the opening the Spurs needed, and they quickly took the lead. The Blazers refused to allow the Spurs to get more than a point or two ahead, at least up until the final 35 seconds of the game. After a combination of a Manu Ginobili three and a block by Rudy Gay, San Antonio lead by four.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Aldridge and company were shooting 56 percent from the field. For the first few minutes, the teams traded baskets, Portland refusing to give in. At least they did until vintage Ginobili made an appearance. The 40-year-old guard scored ten of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and did not miss a single shot in the game. With seven minutes left, Ginobili scored eight consecutive points to put the Spurs up by 11 points.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 8, 2018
Ginobili’s run was a death sentence for the Blazer’s squad, and they never again got within six points of the Spurs. In the end, San Antonio won 116 to 105.
In this win, the Spurs shot an impressive 56 percent from the field. As usual, LaMarcus Aldridge was dominant and efficient. He put up 28 points on 13 of 22 shooting, with eight rebounds and four steals to boot.
Effect of this game
This win was tremendously important for San Antonio. First, it keeps them tied for the sixth seed in the West, making it more likely that they will not fall out of the playoffs in their final two games of the season. In addition, if the season ended today, the Spurs would be set to play Portland in the first round. Tonight’s game proved that San Antonio can take down this Blazer’s squad if the two teams do indeed meet.
After the Spurs’ satisfying win tonight, they will host the Sacramento Kings on Monday at 7:30 p.m. CT.