PORTLAND, Ore. -- With their senior citizens resting back home, the San Antonio Spurs did what they often do in such a situation. With Kawhi Leonard leading the way, the Spurs rolled past the Portland Trail Blazers 110-90 Friday night at Moda Center. Leonard scored 33 points, Patty Mills came off the bench to add 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge collected 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the shorthanded Spurs (24-6), who won for the sixth time in seven games. CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard each scored 16 points for the Trail Blazers (13-19), who lost their fifth straight game and for the ninth time in the last 10 outings. Playing the second of back-to-back games after a 106-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center Thursday night, San Antonio went without veterans Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who were given the night off for rest. The Spurs put together an offensive masterpiece, shooting .500 from the field, .600 from 3-point range and .952 from the free-throw line. They also outrebounded the Blazers 45-33 and forced 17 turnovers that resulted in 18 points. "It was one of our better defensive performances of the year," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "We played hard; we just didn't play well enough to win the game," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "San Antonio is a good team. Kawhi scored 33 points on 15 shots, and Patty scored 23 (points) on nine (shots). They shot the ball really well. It's a disappointing way to go into the holidays, but we competed and got beat by a better team." The score was tied 27-27 after one quarter. The Blazers had seven of their 17 turnovers in the second quarter as San Antonio outscored Portland 21-8 to start the second quarter to forge a 48-35 lead. The Spurs took a 12-point advantage into intermission. "In the second quarter, we turned the ball over," said Lillard, who doled out 10 assists. "They're solid. They're smart. They're going to execute well. They're going to defend. Once they get a cushion, it's hard to overcome that. We put ourselves in a bad spot, and it just kept adding up." Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points and Mills 11 to stake San Antonio to its 57-45 halftime lead. The Spurs were 7 for 10 from 3-point range and 12 for 12 from the line through the break. Nine Portland turnovers resulted in 13 Spurs points in the half. The Spurs, knocking down 10 of their first 15 shots of the third quarter, cranked the lead up to 85-66, the last seven points coming from Mills. San Antonio settled for an 87-72 bulge heading into the final period. Portland never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way. "Our effort was good," Meyers Leonard said. The Spurs "are a good team, and they shot the ball well tonight, but we were pretty dialed in defensively. Every game you have some lapses. The few mistakes we had really cost us." NOTES: San Antonio F LaMarcus Aldridge, who played his first nine seasons in Portland, heard a smattering of boos every time he touched the ball. The same thing happened when the Spurs played at Moda Center a year ago, his first season away from the Blazers. "That got to me last year, but this year, I embraced the boos and had fun with it," Aldridge said. "My first time, I was more jittery. I wouldn't say I like (the boos) here. This is my home. I feel like this is always going to be a special place. The first time was tough, but this time was a lot better." ... Popovich on resting Gasol (36), Parker (34) and Ginobili (39): "You look at the schedule and the age of the guys. I want everybody to be ready for the stretch (of the season). We're in four games in 5 1/2 days right now. We go from Houston to L.A. to Portland back to San Antonio. The guys who have a little bit of age on them, there's no way they can do that. It's my job to make sure they can manage it correctly." ... Popovich's grade for his Spurs at this point of the season: "B-minus or C-plus. We have seven or eight new guys. It's a work in progress. Pretty inconsistent. We haven't played a lot of 48-minute games. We have a long way to go. Everybody is willing. It's a hard-working crew. But we just have so many different combinations with all the new guys, it's taken time to put that together." ... Portland F Evan Turner (ankle) will miss his third straight game.
Leonard's 33 lead Spurs past Trail Blazers
The Sports Xchange | Dec 24