With the playoffs less than two weeks away, the San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of their best stretch of the season.
The Spurs look to continue building momentum heading into the postseason as they try for their ninth straight win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
San Antonio (55-21) has already clinched its 10th straight playoff berth and secured at least the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The Spurs lost four of seven just before the All-Star break, but are a league-best 20-3 since then.
“We just have to play our best basketball,” Tim Duncan said after a 112-99 win over Golden State on Saturday. “Going into the playoffs we want to play our best basketball and be healthy.”
San Antonio scored a season-high 40 first-quarter points Saturday en route to its 19th straight home victory over the Warriors.
The Spurs have had similar success against the Trail Blazers (31-45), winning eight in a row and 15 of their last 16 over them.
San Antonio has taken seven consecutive home games against Portland since a 95-76 loss Nov. 9, 2002, outscoring the Blazers by an average of 15.8 points and outrebounding them by 8.7 boards in those contests.
The Spurs have the No. 1 scoring defense in the league at 89.6 points per game and are holding the Blazers, the second-worst offensive team with a 93.9-point average, to 79.9 points a contest during the seven straight home wins.
Duncan had a game-high 28 points with 15 rebounds and four blocked shots against Golden State as the Spurs won for the ninth time in 10 games. San Antonio improved to 3-0 on its five-game homestand and has won seven straight and 14 of 15 at the AT&T Center since Jan. 26.
Manu Ginobili had 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting Saturday after scoring 15 points on 6-of-17 from the field in his last two games. Ginobili, scoring 16.6 points per game this season, is averaging 20.7 against Portland in 2006-07.
Michael Finley had 15 points against the Warriors and is averaging 15.6 - 6.7 above than his season average - in his last seven games. Finley matched a season high with 20 points in San Antonio’s last matchup with Portland, a 99-94 win March 6.
The Blazers have dropped eight of their last 12 on the road. They fell 86-74 at Dallas on Saturday to lose for the fifth time in seven games overall.
“I thought our guys did a great job on not quitting,” said guard Jarrett Jack, who scored a team-high 18 points. “They showed some fight out there and made the score respectable.”
Portland, already without leading scorer Zach Randolph (right hand surgery) and rookie LaMarcus Aldridge (rapid heartbeat), was also missing rookie of the year candidate Brandon Roy because of a sore right knee.
Roy’s injury is not considered serious, though, and he’s expected to play Sunday. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 25.3 points on 55.1 percent shooting in his last three games, and has totaled 29 points in two games against the Spurs this season.