San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Getting back on track at home
By Dylan Carter
After two dreadful losses, the San Antonio Spurs bounced back with a 131-118 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Spurs finally got their redemption game at home after a dreadful November that led them near the bottom of the West. With all gears turning, San Antonio shot a season-high 60.2 percent from the field including 10-of-14 three-pointers and 90.1 percent from the charity stripe.
It was an excellent outing for LaMarcus Aldridge, who has come alive after an offensive drought in the last month. As the backbone of the team, Aldridge’s performance is always pertinent to San Antonio’s chances of winning. When he’s hitting his shots, the team is setup to execute their game plan on both ends of the floor.
Tonight was a great example of how an effective night for Aldridge can surge the offense. He finished with a full line of 29 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. The 33-year-old hit on 11-of-15 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws.
On the wing, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay carved up a porous Blazers perimeter in one of their best efforts as a duo in the Alamo City. Gay shot the lights out tonight with 18 points while hitting all four of his attempts from behind the arc.
San Antonio was clicking on offense in the first half but failed to contain Portland’s array of shooters. DeRozan struggled in the first half, missing six of his nine attempts through two quarters. From start to finish, it was a tough physical matchup. The Spurs took advantage of the Blazers’ nine turnovers by scoring 14 fastbreak points early.
After his difficult beginning, DeMar dominated the third quarter. He locked in and scored 18 of the Spurs final 20 points in the period. Alongside him in the paint was Jakob Poeltl, who displayed excellent defensive instincts under the hoop. He finished the night with two blocks and steal while hitting all three of his shots.
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DeRozan finished the night with a season-high 36 points on 13-of-27 shooting with eight boards, six assists and two steals. It was clear once he began connecting on consecutive jumpers that there wasn’t much Portland’s C.J. McCollum could do to stop him.
In the midst of his team’s woes, Patty Mills found an offensive groove over the last two weeks. He continued a string of fantastic efforts with 15 points and six assists off the bench.
MIlls has truly embraced his role as one of the squad’s veteran leaders both on and off the court. Patty has always been illusive off the ball but he’s done an excellent job of initiating offense and finding himself open for jumpers with the second unit. In many ways, Mills has taken on playmaking responsibilities that belonged to Tony Parker in his veteran years.
For as excellent as they were on offense, it was a terrible defensive night for the Spurs. Bryn Forbes hung on for dear life as Damian Lillard dropped 37 points and 10 assists in 41 minutes. His backcourt-mate, McCollum, finished with 24 points of his own. The Spurs allowed 30 or more points in each of the four quarters in the contest.
With this statement win, the Spurs will look to build momentum against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday evening. They’ll travel to Salt Lake City as DeRozan matches up with Donovan Mitchell for the first time this year.