Injuries to forwards Zach Randolph and Shareef Abdur-Raheem have weakened the Trail Blazers up front.
Randolph, averaging 20.2 points and 10.9 rebounds, has missed five games with a bruised right knee. Although the All-Star forward hasn’t been put on the injured list, he can’t put full weight on his knee and his return doesn’t seem imminent.
Portland has lost six straight to match their longest streak since losing six in a row in 2001-02.
Darius Miles had 12 points in his first game back from the injured list, but Portland committed 19 turnovers in a 92-83 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Damon Stoudamire had 23 points and Ruben Patterson, who remained in the starting lineup despite the return of Miles from the injured list, had 19.
Miles missed six games due to a bruised knee.
Portland is 3-13 in its last 16 games, and injuries to Randolph, Miles and Abdur-Rahim—along with poor play of guard Derek Anderson—has kept coach Maurice Cheeks juggling the starting lineup.
Now, the Blazers will face a San Antonio team that won their last meeting by 24 points on Dec. 30.
“We’ve got to come out and minimize our mistakes,” Portland center Theo Ratliff said. “That’s what’s hurting us more than anything.”
The Spurs have won four in a row and seven of nine to move out to a five-game lead over Dallas in the Southwest Division.
Duncan had 23 points and 13 rebounds as San Antonio topped Sacramento 103-73 Sunday, handing the Kings their worst home loss in more than nine years.
“It’s still just a regular-season game, but it’s encouraging to do this against a team that scores like Sacramento,” said Duncan, who went 11-for-19. “We just played our game.”
Duncan leads San Antonio with 21.6 points and 11.9 rebounds a game.