Skip to content

San Antonio’s stars actually play, but a rookie steals the show

Dec 14, 2012, 3:22 AM EST

Parker shoots against Lillard during NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon

The Spurs were playing the second half of a back-to-back, on the road in a notoriously tough place to win, with stars that are notoriously still pretty old.

It begs the question: Had David Stern not dropped the boom earlier this season with a $250,000 dollar fine for keeping their stars out, would Gregg Popovich rest his starters in another nationally televised game?

Maybe, maybe not. Only Pop knows. But what we do know is that the Spurs played with a full deck against the Portland Trailblazers, and a young rookie point guard completely stole show.

Damian Lillard was sensational against the Spurs, pouring in a career-high 29 points to go alongside seven rebounds and six assists in a solid 98-90 win for the young Blazers.

After getting saddled with a few early fouls against Tony Parker, Lillard settled in and grew more comfortable as the game went on, pulling off moves against Parker like he was walk-on at a Big Sky Conference school and not a four-time champion.

With Lillard’s step-back game on point and LaMarcus Aldridge providing some steady offense (22 points, 10-for-16) on the block, the Blazers were able to survive despite their typical shaky depth. The Spurs got 40 of their 90 points from their bench, but failed to get any of their outside shooters going in a 6-for-19 effort from behind the arc.

Although they hung around in typical Spurs fashion, it was Nicolas Batum who closed out a game that Manu Ginobili looked primed to take over. In a one-possession game with a little over a minute left, Batum curled off a screen and fired with no hesitation, nailing a 3-pointer that seemed to take the sails out of the Spurs ship. Batum wisely double-tapped the zombie Spurs though by blocking Parker’s layup attempt and sealing it late with two free throws.

This loss, of course, is almost completely meaningless to the Spurs. For a team that knows they’ll be in the playoffs, games like these are nothing but glorified practices. They want to win, of course, but it doesn’t really set them off path with a loss. But for a young squad like Portland in need of positive reinforcement? Wins don’t get much better than this.

Latest Posts
  1. Damian Lillard on flagrant foul from Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy: ‘It was a cheap play’

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    Dunleavy says he was just trying to foul to stop the clock. Watch and decide for yourself.

  2. Dwight Howard out vs. Mavericks Saturday, no timetable for his return

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:06 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets

    With him and starting power forward Terrence Jones out, the Rockets are very thin up front.

  3. Brandon Jennings on reason for Pistons’ offensive woes: ‘We don’t shoot in practice’

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    Brandon Jennings AP

    Detroit is next to last in field goal percentage on the season.

  4. NBA corrects scoring error from Raptors’ win over Bucks

    Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Toronto won by 42 points, so this only matters if you had a certain Milwaukee player on your fantasy team.

  5. If Derrick Rose not ready to return by Monday Bulls may add point guard to roster

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS

    Mike James or Will Bynum could be added to the roster for a short stint.

  6. Eric Bledsoe on flagrant foul he took from Nerlens Noel: ‘They did it on purpose’

    Nov 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers

    Bledsoe says the Sixers warned him before the game that he would be targeted for his previous comments.

  7. Report: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook could return to Thunder lineup next week

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook AP

    Both are expected to participate in parts of Saturday’s practice.

  8. Pacers coach Frank Vogel: ‘very unlikely’ that Paul George plays this year

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Paul George Paul George

    George is trying to get back on the court before the season is finished.

  9. Eric Bledsoe takes a shot to the face on first possession against Sixers (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 10:45 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Bledsoe said yesterday that Philadelphia would lose to a college team.

  10. Dwight Howard has plasma therapy (Kobe therapy) on right knee

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:46 PM EST

    Dwight Howard Dwight Howard

    He will not play against the Mavericks, at least.

  11. Michele Roberts: NBA agreed to work with union before attempt to ‘prove its toughness’ with Jeff Taylor suspension

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

    Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association

    National Basketball Players Association executive director: NBA ‘chose to bend to the pressure it feels from the current media spotlight’

  12. Al Michaels tells story of how Doc Rivers was almost Lakers coach in 2004-05

    Nov 21, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

    Any story that includes a chance meeting and conversation with Jerry Buss outside a men’s restroom is going to be golden.

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (7848)
  2. D. Wade (7195)
  3. K. Durant (6528)
  4. P. Gasol (5730)
  5. R. Westbrook (5449)
  1. T. Jones (5237)
  2. O. Asik (5090)
  3. R. Gay (5088)
  4. D. Howard (4831)
  5. N. Young (4710)