The San Antonio Spurs used a fourth quarter surge, lead by Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, to stay a perfect 8-0 at the AT&T Center with a 99-83 win over the Portland Trail Blazers..
After playing catchup for a majority of the first two quarters, including two 5-0 runs by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter, the Spurs minimized their turnovers after a sloppy first quarter and managed to enter halftime ahead by three points.
As has been the case since Manu Ginobili was injured, several Spurs players found ways to contribute, with Tiago Splitter scoring nine points in the third quarter, and Parker and Leonard pacing the Spurs in the fourth. Danny Green also contributed on both ends of the floor throughout the second half.
Jeff Garcia spoke to Sophia Brugato of Pinwheel Empire before lat night's game. Here's what Sophia said about ending the Spurs' perfect home streak.
"The Blazers have yet to prove themselves on the road . It will be a tough contest , for sure, but I think they can eek a victory. Aldridge, Wallace, Batum, and at least one of the guards will have to play well for the Blazers to win. "
In Paul Garcia's game preview, he talked about the Spurs needing good performances from four players in order to have a chance at beating Portland.
The Spurs will not only need another big night from Parker and Duncan, but they will need someone to put on the Ginobili-cape and then someone else to be the fourth phantom Spur. Will it be Blair, Jefferson, or Leonard from the starting lineup? Or could it be someone off the bench like Green, Neal, Bonner, or Splitter? Parker, Leonard, Splitter and Danny Green ended up carrying the load for the Spurs in their 99-83 win.
“It was a tough loss. We had control of both halves and then we just let it slip away. It wasn’t even their starters tonight. Their second unit came in tonight and played big for them. They put pressure on us, crashed the boards hard and they just had more energy than us tonight. We had control, we just didn’t stay solid.”
By the Numbers
14 - Spurs turnover in the first half.
6 and 3 - Danny Green's rebounds and blocked shots.
50-36 - Spurs rebounding advantage.
3 - Richard Jefferson's points. A season low.
Kawhi Leonard, who has been drawing comparisons to former Spur Bruce Bowen, finished the game with 11 points (9 in the fourth quarter), five rebounds and two steals.
Cory Joseph played just over two minutes at the end of the fourth quarter, scoring two points on a drive into the paint.
Danny Green had another standout night (13 points, six rebounds, three blocked shots) and has strung together several key performances since Manu Gonobili injured his shooting hand. After finishing with eight points and two blocks in only 16 minutes in the Spurs' first game without Ginobili, Green has seen a steady increase in playing time and has taken over James Anderson's role off the bench. The Spurs are also now calling plays for Green and he has yet to disappoint.
Excluding Milwaukee's game (5 minutes), Green has averaged 10.6 points, five rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game in the last six games. While role and playing time could change in a whim, Green seems to have earned his teammates' and coaches' confidence.
Green is definitely a watch "lister," but if you need help in several categories, Green may be just the under-the-radar pickup you need.
The supporting casts outdid themselves. It was the second unit that spelled the difference. The spurs was throbbing like a well-oiled machine. There were no missing links. All but Thomas contributed to the cause. Splitter and Green were fantastic and Anderson may have delayed his d-league entry. Hope coach Pops fields Joseph and Thomas when it matter not garbage time. They have to learn the system soon. The spurs has 13 players including Manu and TJFord. 2 more pf/c will not hurt. GO Spurs!
leonard is showing EXACTLY why the spurs traded hill for him. i would say that by the end of the season most people will have the same opinion, leonard is just plain better and was some what of a steal trading hill for him. and thiago was beasting the blazers last night in the 2nd half. at one point they showed a stat; blazers 10 points, splitter 7 points. the bigs did their thing and TD played 20 minutes against a very good blazers team. pleased with the win can you tell?
I definitely think we got a steal by trading hill. Leonard looks better and better, plus most poeple forgot we also got the rights to 2-3 other players in the trade that are in Europe I believe. I liked hill, but it was a smart move.
@spursfan80 yeah we got a guy indy already had stashed, and a pick plus leonard. at this point hill and leonard are fairly even stat wise (hill better at some leonard better at others). funny how people doubted the office from the get go on this one. i think leonard surpasses bowen in the history of spurs land.