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article imageNBA: Spurs stay perfect at home, beat Trailblazers 99-83

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 14, 2012 in Sports
San Antonio - In the second of a three-game home stand, the San Antonio Spurs played host to the Portland Trailblazers on Friday, and Spurs bench players dominated the game in leading the way to a 99-83 win to keep the Spurs undefeated at home this season.
Recent history showed the Blazers having had their way with the Spurs, winning eight of the last nine meetings between the two teams, and it seemed at times on Friday San Antonio was willing to let the trend continue, committing 14 turnovers by halftime, 10 in the first quarter alone.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge opened the game’s scoring and did not stop there. By the end of the first quarter, with the Blazers up 31-26, he had scored 14 points. He finished the game with 29 points and seven rebounds.
The Trailblazers’ Marcus Camby sprained his ankle early in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
Despite the rash of Spurs turnovers which led to 17 Portland points, San Antonio took a 50-47 lead into intermission, thanks to an explosive bench performance, which outscored Portland’s bench, 27-2. Third-year player Danny Green scored 11 to pace the Spurs.
The Spurs were helped out by Portland’s 1-for-10 shooting from three-point land in the first two quarters.
Portland went on an early 7-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter, helped by the Spurs, who came out of halftime by going 1-for-11 from the field. With the game tied at 57, Tim Duncan went to the bench for a breather and never had to return, as the Spurs outscored the Blazers, 42-26, from that point.
Tiago Splitter, coming in for Duncan, led the charge, scoring nine in the quarter, including a stretch of seven straight. His third quarter efforts helped the Spurs stretch the lead to 77-67 and then one of those plays which makes or breaks the game occurred.
Spurs center DeJuan Blair rebounded an Aldridge miss and launched a touchdown pass to a streaking Kawhi Leonard for a layup, giving San Antonio a 12-point lead on a 12-0 run. The play ignited the AT&T Center home crowd and helped doom the Blazers.
Leonard, the rookie from San Diego State, is assuring himself a top spot in the Spurs rotation, and in addition to his growing defensive presence, finished the game with 11 points, including nine in the decisive third quarter. He added five rebounds, an assist and a block.
When Portland closed the gap to nine midway in the fourth, 85-76, Spurs point guard Tony Parker was inserted back in the game. He quickly scored six unanswered points, added a steal to stretch the lead back to 15, and helped the Spurs pull away for the victory.
San Antonio’s defense got better as the game went on, and its fourth quarter effort helped the team outscore Portland, 34-18.
For the game, the Spurs bench outscored Portland’s, 45-17. Splitter led bench scorers with 14. Danny Green came off the bench to score 13 points and added six rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Leonard also finished the game with 13 points.
Parker continued his leadership play from the Wednesday overtime win over Houston, and finished Friday’s game with 20 points, nine assist, four rebounds, and two steals.
Although the Spurs committed a season-high 23 turnovers which to 28 Portland points, team defense in the second half carried the team. The Spurs finished the game with a huge advantage in rebounds, 50-36.
Playing a combined 74 minutes in the Spurs’ back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, including an overtime win against Houston, Duncan got some needed rest in the second half on Friday, finishing the game with seven points and nine rebounds, a block, and a steal in 21 minutes.
Speaking on Spurs Radio after the game, Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown said, “It’s extremely rare to find a formula [when replacing Duncan] that works. There’s never a perfect one on what you do on back-to-backs or back-to-back-to-backs.
But tonight everything worked.”
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