Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/11/12
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The San Antonio Spurs ended a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. The Spurs trailed the Blazers through the first three quarters then pulled ahead in the fourth quarter only to see the Blazers come back. San Antonio finally pulled out the 112-109 win, before an announced sellout crowd of 20,447. "Portland did an awesome job of getting back into it, making plays, hitting big shots," said Spurs forward Tim Duncan. "But we sustained and it's a great win for us. A really great win for us. After going into the fourth quarter down 79-73, the Spurs opened the final period with a 14-0 run. "They got hot," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "They were playing small ball all night which opens up the court. When you play small it allows you to score points. It becomes a different type of game." The Spurs held onto the lead until 40 seconds remaining in the game when Blazers forward Nicolas Batum sunk a 3-pointer to make the score 109-109. "I got the ball, I had space, so I just shot it," Batum said. "I felt really good and just watched it go." Manu Ginobili then buried two free throws with 12.9 seconds to put the Spurs on top for good. "This was the best Manu's looked," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Ginobili, who finished the game with 17 points and four assists in 28:02 of action. "He didn't score that many points, but he looked like he had his speed and his quickness, and he played a little more confidently." Duncan had 22 points, Kawhil Leonard and Danny Green scored 10 points each. More important than what the Spurs starters did was the 63 points they got from their bench. On top of Ginobili's 17 points, Stephen Jackson had 13 points and Gary Neal led the Spurs with a career best 27 points. "For the most part it felt good," Neal said. "I was able to get a good feel and the jump shot felt good. I kept shooting." Batum led all scorers with 33 points, Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points, point guard Damian Lillard had 20 points, J.J. Hickson scored 13 points. The game was knotted 26-26 after the first quarter. The Blazers were able to gain some breathing room in the second quarter and went into halftime ahead 52-43. In the first half, the Blazers were able to capitalize on the Spurs 14 turnovers. San Antonio settled down in the second half, turning the ball over only seven more times. Popovich said that the Spurs did not make any adjustments after the 14 turnovers at halftime. "There's no halftime drills for turnovers," Popovich said. "You either turn it over or you don't. If there was a drill for it I'd be doing it. Last year we were first in the league in fewest turnovers. This year we've had a little bit of a turnover problem. Hopefully it will pass." Late in the third quarter, the Spurs cut the lead to 67-64 before Portland went on a 10-3 run and ended the period with a 79-73 lead. The lead would not hold up for the Blazers, though. Batum said failing to win a game that they were controlling comes back to the larger issue of Portland not playing a complete game. "(We are missing) a 48 minute game, not 40, not 46, (we have to play) a 48-minute game," Batum said. "We played three good quarters. In the fourth quarter, their bench had nothing to lose. They just played. They got really hot." NOTES: The Spurs started Patty Mills at point guard in place of Tony Parker, who did not play because of a stomach virus. ... Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, Aldridge and several other players on the Blazers and the Spurs wore a "stars-and-stripes" headband in support of the U.S. military on Veteran's Day weekend. ... Lillard is the fourth player since 1985 to record 100 points and 40 assists in his first six career games, joining John Wall, LeBron James and Damon Stoudamire.
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