Spurs 112, Trail Blazers 96
SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Portland is a young team that appears to be getting better. But the Trail Blazers are not yet a playoff caliber team.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich reminded his team of that at halftime. After almost blowing all of a 16-point first-half lead, the Spurs let the scolding from their coach sink in and finally blew out Portland 112-96 on Monday night.
“He was pretty mad—pretty mad—because we lost a big lead pretty fast,” said Tony Parker, who scored 30 points for the Spurs
“We had to make sure we could go and get some stops, get some easy baskets (in) transition,” he said. “Just play our game.”
The Spurs (56-21) trail idle Phoenix by two games for the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Each team has five games remaining in the regular season.
San Antonio led by as much as 16 points late in the first half. But Portland cut the lead to the 58-56 when Ime Udoka stole a pass by Parker and took it back across the court before finding Brandon Roy for an easy layup early in the second half.
The Spurs outscored Portland 11-1 during the next two minutes to go ahead by 12 with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
That’s when Popovich started to breath a little easier.
“It was a good win against a club that is young and headed in the right direction,” he said. “In the second half, our defense was better. And Tony (Parker) did a great job. He had a lot of energy.”
The Trail Blazers cut it to five points with 1:21 left in the period, but it was as close as they could get the rest of the game.
“We ran out of gas,” Roy said. “There were times where you could see they played with a lot more energy than we did.
“They kept making pushes. Up until the fourth quarter, we were able to answer. We scraped for as long as we could.”
Portland (31-46) was missing starters Zach Randolph, Joel Pryzbilla and rookie LaMarcus Aldridge to injury or other medical conditions. The team found out Monday that Aldridge’s rapid heartbeat he experienced nine days ago was caused by Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
The 21-year-old will miss the remainder of the season. But the team announced he is being treated and could play again as soon as this summer with the Trail Blazers’ summer-league team.
The Trail Blazers had won two of their last three games. That included a seven-point victory at Houston before losing in Dallas to the Mavericks on Saturday.
“I really applaud our effort these last three games facing Dallas, Houston and San Antonio,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “The effort was there. We definitely were undermanned.”
The Trail Blazers were hurt by not having the right players on the floor, but they also didn’t have players on the right spot on the floor. San Antonio jumped out to a 15-0 advantage in fastbreak points and ended the game with a 19-10 advantage.
“We saw this same thing in Dallas,” McMillan said. “When you miss shots and the long rebounds, they convert those with those quick guards with (Devin) Harris and (Jason) Terry and Parker and (Manu) Ginobili and those guys. Anything long and our defense was flat and they were converting those into points.”
The Spurs jumped to a 13-point lead in the first quarter by outscoring Portland 22-11 during the quarter’s final 8 minutes.
The lead grew to 16 points before the Trail Blazers scored 11 consecutive points during a 2:38 stretch of the second quarter.
Magloire scored on a slam dunk and a short jumper and had a steal during the spurt. He also was a part of plenty of physical contact with Tim Duncan, who was whistled for a technical foul by Eddie F. Rush with 2:50 to go before halftime.
Duncan had complained after he was whistled for an offensive foul when he bumped with Magloire.
Spurs starting guard Brent Barry missed his fourth straight game with back spasms and Robert Horry missed his fifth straight game with an abdominal contusion. A date for their return is expected to be announced after practice Tuesday. … Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan got a quick reply after complaining about a call in the first quarter by Jess Kersey: “I’m not blind.”