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Trail Blazers wallop starless Spurs in historic blowout

  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers beat up on the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs 137-97 Tuesday, in front of 20,567 at the Rose Garden, marking the team's largest win over the Spurs in series history.

    San Antonio (23-10) was also without starting point guard Tony Parker. Both Parker and Duncan were held out to get rest, according to coach Gregg Popovich.

    "Sometimes that type of game can be a challenge. Coach Popovich, I think it was about the same time last year, he rested some of his guys and they played well. You know they’re going to scrap," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "For our guys, as I told them, it’s not about the team or who’s out, we need to play the game. I thought they did. They went out, stayed focused, played the game the right way. We got off to a good start and pretty much continued that."

    Portland (18-16) got going early, posting a season-high 41-point first quarter just 24 hours after posting a season-low 7-point first period against the Lakers.

    The Spurs were able to hang with the Trail Blazers in the first stretch of action, taking the lead 20-19 on Richard Jefferson's three-pointer with five minutes left in the period.

    From there the Trail Blazers went on a 22-0 run over the final five minutes of the quarter, capped by Raymond Felton's three-pointer with eight seconds remaining, to lead 41-20.

    Jamal Crawford led the Portland attack early after getting the start at point guard in place of Felton. He scored 15 points in the opening period on 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the three-point arc and 3-of-3 from the free throw line.

    Crawford finished with 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting, 5-of-7 from three-point range, and a game-high eight assists while turning the ball over just once. Felton was effective in his role off the bench, scoring 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, (4-of-8 from long range), and dishing four assists.

    "I thought both of them again did a nice job of running the team, taking the shots that were there," McMillan said of Crawford and Felton. "We haven’t seen this type of shooting all season long, so it was good to see those guys take good shots and make shots."

    The lead grew to 66-43 at the half and 103-65 headed into the final stanza after a 37-point third quarter effort.

    LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 21 points, seven rebounds, while Gerald Wallace notched the team's lone double-double with 19 points and 10 boards while adding six assists. Batum joined Wallace with 19 points while pulling down six rebounds.

    The bench unit extended the lead by two points in the fourth quarter to achieve the final historic margin, led by Elliott Williams with 17 points, 15 in the final period on 7-of-9 shooting, including two dunks of highlight-reel quality.

    "You rarely get into a game like that. You are able to get those guys some minutes. They work hard and it was good to see them out on the floor.," McMillan said. "They ran their sets and I thought they did a solid job. They didn’t, as I say, mess with the game. They stayed solid, executed defensively, was pretty aggressive and wasn’t sloppy towards the end."

    Portland had six players with at least 16 points in a game for the first time since Dec. 20, 1992 vs. Golden State, and Portland's 137 points are its most in a regulation game since March 7, 1994 vs. Golden State (137-108).

    The Trail Blazers have now won seven times by at least 20 points. No other team in the Western Conference has at least four such wins.

    "It’s a win going into the all star break coming off a game where we felt like we just played bad, horrible last night, so the thing we take from this is we got us a win. We go into the break with a win and a little confidence," Wallace said.

    Portland returns from the All-Star break Wednesday, Feb. 29, 6 p.m., on the road against the Denver Nuggets. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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