Sun, 16 Jan 2022

Spurs building momentum as they head to banged-up Portland

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2021, 11:19 GMT+10

The San Antonio Spurs look to build on their first winning streak of the season when they begin a three-game road trip against the banged-up Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

The Spurs head to the Pacific Northwest on a season-best two-game victory run and after a 116-99 win at home over Washington on Monday. Derrick White had a season-high 24 points, 18 of those in the pivotal third quarter, and Dejounte Murray added 22 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.

San Antonio trailed by six points at halftime but rallied to take the lead over the final three minutes of the third quarter and poured it on down the stretch, never allowing the Wizards to get closer than five points in the fourth period.

"We did well, we played hard, so we're thrilled with the victory," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. "I'm happy that so many people were able to participate. Derrick is back to being the Derrick White that we all remember, and that's been a big plus for us, so there's a lot of good things out on the court."

Jakob Poeltl added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, with Keldon Johnson hitting for 13 and Bryn Forbes and Thaddeus Young scoring 10 points each for San Antonio. The Spurs improved to 5-1 this season in games in which they've held opponents to less than 100 points.

"It's great having Jakob back, because he does so many good things," Popovich said. "Thaddeus (Young) was fantastic tonight with his minutes on the court. DJ has continued to do what he's done the whole season. He played fantastically."

The Trail Blazers return to the court for the second of a four-game homestand after a 110-92 win over Detroit on Tuesday that snapped a three-game losing streak. CJ McCollum led Portland with 28 points, Ben McLemore added 17, Jusuf Nurkic had 13 points and Anfernee Simons and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the victory.

Portland was able to find a way to win despite playing without starters Damian Lillard (who is nursing an abdominal injury) and Norman Powell (right quad contusion) and key reserve Nassir Little (left ankle sprain).

Lillard will miss at least four more games before being re-evaluated, the Blazers said Wednesday. Little's ankle will require he sit out at least a week, and Powell might end up being a game-time decision for the Spurs game on Thursday.

Still, the Trail Blazers currently sit at 10-1 at home.

"You definitely take a win when you can get it," Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. "I felt like we played with a lot of urgency and purpose for the most part in the game. I'll take that any day."

McLemore's production came in a season-high 18 minutes off the bench.

"That's kind of what we envisioned for Ben the whole time (this season)," Billups said. "He's one of those guys, just one of those X-factor guys, that he could not play for a while and whenever you put him in, he's just gonna be who he is. He made the shots, and defensively he played really hard. Didn't miss assignments out there."

This is the first of four games between the two teams this season. The Trail Blazers won two of the three games against San Antonio last year.

--Field Level Media

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