Blazers Drop Spurs by 40
Weren't we just saying something 24 hours earlier about a "snowball effect" when it comes to this Portland team? They follow each other up, and they follow each other down. Monday's first quarter was way down. Tuesday's first quarter was the exact opposite. At least it's easier to swallow inconsistency when it comes in a 40-point blowout.
On Thursday night the Trail Blazers didn't score their 41st point of the game until the 7:54 mark of the third quarter. On Tuesday, they scored 41 points in the first quarter, and that was just the beginning. They scored 66 points in the first half, led 103-65 after the third, and won the game 137-97. That's the most points any NBA team has scored this season. It's also the largest margin of victory in the long history of this series.
So, going back to the first quarter of the Laker game, where they scored just 7 points, the Trail Blazers have put together quarters of 23, 36, 26, 41, 25, 37, and 34. In those last seven quarters, that's an average of 32 points per. So, even though this is a silly stat to contemplate, that's an average of 128 points per game.
No, this won't continue, and yes, there were other factors at play in the victory over the Spurs, as you know.
Despite a chance at a 12th-consecutive win, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich decided before the game to rest Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. That's what Pop does. He's always been willing to lose a battle if it means a chance to win the war. But, I'm sure he wasn't expecting this to be a 40-point loss. That's not fun no matter who you are.
The Trail Blazers should get at least some credit in sticking to the task at hand, and not worrying about who was in uniform for the other team. They were coming off a loss and badly wanted to go into the All-Star break with a win.
Nate McMillan also tweaked the starting lineup before the game. He put Jamal Crawford with the first five, and brought Ray Felton off the bench. Both played very, very well. Crawford ended with 20 points, 8 assists, and just one turnover. Felton didn't appear to hang his head, and responded with 16 points, including hitting 4 of 8 from behind the three-point line.
Seven Trail Blazers in all scored in double figures, and Elliot Williams even scored a career-high 17 points. That included his usual batch of highlight dunks.
You can't control what the other team does, you just take care of your business and move on. That was the challenge facing the Trail Blazers before this game, and even though the Spurs were shorthanded, it was an inspiring effort by the home team. The Spurs hadn't suffered a loss of 40 points or more since March of 1997.
Now, it's break time. The Trail Blazers take an 18-16 record into the break, but also take a good measure of momentum to the time off. They've got a new starting lineup, and possibly new determination. We'll see just how different they are when they resume action at Denver after the break.