Season 51, Game 32
San Antonio 93, Portland 91
22-10, 3rd in the West

It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t the most fun game to watch, but the Spurs kicked off the current road trip with a two-points victory over Portland last night. And in the crowded Western Conference, any win will do, especially when San Antonio played without two of their starters.

Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker both got a day of rest on Wednesday night, so the Spurs relied on their two bigs – Pau Gasol and former Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge – to lead them to victory. Both did their part, making 15-of-20 of their combined shots and scoring 16 points apiece in the first half. Aldridge led the team with 22 points, while Pau finished with 20 to go along with a season-high 17 rebounds.

The Spurs came out of the half with a 54-46 lead, but Portland caught up with a 17-4 run in the third quarter featuring an 11 point outburst by All Star-to-be Jusuf Nurkic. San Antonio fought back, eventually grabbing the lead for good on a Manu Ginobili layup with five minutes remaining in the game.

That lead wasn’t safe until the final buzzer, though. Portland guard C.J. McCollum heaved a potential game winning three-point shot as time expired but – much to our collective relief – it clanged off the rim to give the Blazers their fifth straight loss at home.

A few more thoughts:

  • Danny Green made a smooth-as-hell steal and slam halfway through the fourth quarter, picking off a pass from Damian Lillard at half court
  • Kyle Anderson played 24 minutes and scored five points in his return. Anderson’s minutes seem to have come at the expense of Rudy Gay, who only played 15 minutes and scored eight points
  • Dejounte Murray is getting big minutes again, playing 27 in Parker’s absence. Murray isn’t scoring much, but he did come away with nine boards to go along with three assists and four points
  • San Antonio is shooting 35.7% from three this season, good for 19th in the league. They shot 35.3% from three on Wednesday night, so while they aren’t good, at least they’re consistent?

The Spurs travel to Utah to face the Jazz tonight at 9:30pm CT on TNT. Both Parker and Leonard are expected to play.

Go Spurs Go.

Image Credit: Steve Dykes / Associated Press