Trail Blazers vs Spurs Friday, 03/08/13 AT 05:30PM

Lillard Drops 35 In 136-106 Rout Of Spurs

03/08/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    Behind 35 points and nine assists from Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers (28-32) put together an improbable 30-point rout of the San Antonio Spurs (48-15) by the score of 136-106. It was only the fourth time an opponent has won in San Antonio this season.

    "You don't ever predict a win in San Antonio," said Terry Stotts.

    It ended with a roar. But the Trail Blazers night did not start off as planned.

    First, after Meyers Leonard found Victor Claver for a corner-three, he fell on the foot of a San Antonio player, re-injuring his right ankle that kept him out for over three weeks. X-Rays were negative but Leonard did not return. Only moments on the other side of the court, Victor Claver stepped on the foot of Stephen Jackson and he too, had his x-rays comeback negative and he made it to the locker room.

    Then, moments later, Wesley Matthews had his left ankle change direction in an un-natural way when Manu Ginobili inadvertently stepped on his foot. Matthews of course would return.

    However, what the injuries did was take the focus away from a monster first half from JJ Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge. Hickson scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds on the night. Aldridge scored 14 of his 26 (12 of 18 shooting) in the first half and the work in the interior got things going. Lillard scored 10 in the first half, but it was simply the calm before the storm.

    "I think this does rank up there," Lillard said of his performance, "just because we needed this win."

    Both of Lillard's previous 30-plus point performances, while still memorable, both came with a loss in the end. This time, having lost two players who were just starting to find consistency to injury, Lillard said it inspired the team and maybe himself too.

    "Anytime you lose one of your soldiers, you want to play for 'em. Both of those guys went down, Wes even went down. You know, he was able to comeback. In a way we wanted to win the game for 'em. Some people might think it made us short-handed, but in situations like this a lot of teams bounce back even harder and that's what we did."

    Oh boy did they.

    It was an offensive clinic, given to a team that isn't customarily on the receiving end of such clinics. The Trail Blazers hung 79 on the Spurs including 46 points in the final period. They shot 61 percent from the field on the night and they shot 13 of 21 (60 percent) from deep.

    "We had good performances across the board. I mean JJ and LA carried us in the first half. Damian had a solid game when we went small and spaced the floor and gave him a lot of opportunities. Eric Maynor did a great job coming off the bench. Nic didn't have a line in the box score (two points, two blocks) but he was very effective. Wes is out there playing on one leg and doing all that he can. When you beat San Antonio here it takes a lot of efforts from a lot of people," said Stotts.

    It was Lillard who led the charge and eventually ended San Antonio's. Lillard scored 25 of his 35 points in the second half and did it by getting to the rim and connecting from deep. Maynor set a bench season-high with 20 points to go along with six assists, including 14 points in the fourth quarter. Wesley Matthews scored 15 points, all on three-pointers, as he went five of seven from deep. And, in the stead of Leonard and Claver, Jared Jeffries and Luke Babbitt gave the Trail Blazers solid minutes. Jeffries played great defense and set good screens, something Lillard pointed out after the game and Babbitt helped create space on the floor with his perimeter shooting threat.

    Gregg Popovich tried different things. He subbed everybody in the game that he could to try and change things. The Spurs made a run in the fourth quarter and cut the Trail Blazers lead to twelve with just under six minutes left in the ball game. But, just as the Spurs were thinking comeback, Lillard laid those thoughts to rest with a personal 9-2 run to push the lead to 19 and the Trail Blazers never looked back.

    The Trail Blazers needed got a win that was both unlikely but forever memorable thanks to the stellar performance from The Rookie. And, in addition to gaining a game on the Utah Jazz in the standings, Lillard also shut the door, again, on the Rookie of The Year race.

    The Trail Blazers travel to New Orleans to face the Hornets on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 4PM and the game will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.


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