Skip to content

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

Dec 14, 2012, 3:22 AM EDT

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. LeBron’s jersey number decision sends Indianapolis adidas manufacturing plant into immediate action

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    When the game’s best player makes a uniform change, manufacturers spring into immediate action.

  2. Michael Jordan approves of LeBron James wearing No. 23 once again

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four Getty Images

    LeBron said when switching to 6 four years ago that no one should wear 23 out of respect to MJ.

  3. DeMar DeRozan jumps over Kyle Lowry for exhibition dunk (Instagram)

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

    DeMar DeRozan; Kyle Lowry AP

    Insert your own “he only jumped over Lowry” jokes, we’re not going to do that.

  4. All eyes on Derrick Rose as USA Basketball mini-camp begins

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:23 AM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    Rose is expected to make the roster, but will need to shake the rust off quickly to show he’s more deserving than the other elite guards in camp.

  5. Klay Thompson doesn’t anticipate being traded, says he expects to play with Warriors next season

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

    “The fact that I haven’t been traded yet makes me feel comfortable.” —Klay Thompson

  6. Byron Scott: Lakers ‘better be ready to play some defense’

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves

    Scott was historically bad at coaching defense in three seasons with the Cavaliers.

  7. PBT Power Rankings: After summer shakeups, Spurs still team to beat

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five Getty Images

    After all the players shifts this summer, the top three teams in the power rankings remain unchanged from the last one lst year.

  8. Lance Stephenson shows he’s on fire, ready for Charlotte (Instagram)

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:04 AM EDT

    Lance letting us know where his loyalties lie.

  9. Zach LaVine throws down some crazy dunks at Seattle Pro-Am (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Draft Getty Images

    The 2015 Slam Dunk Contest champion might have already been decided.

  10. Paul Millsap receives last minute invite to USA Basketball mini-camp

    Jul 27, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Getty Images

    Millsap gets the call as a late addition after Blake Griffin and Kevin Love dropped out in the last few days.

  11. Report: Kevin Garnett eyes post-basketball position with Nets

    Jul 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Newly acquired Brooklyn Net's NBA player Kevin Garnett listens during a news conference introducing him in Brooklyn Reuters

    KG is likely coming back for his 20th NBA season, but may be setting himself up for something more with the Nets one his playing days are finished.

  12. LeBron announces he’ll wear No. 23 with Cavaliers

    Jul 27, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    LeBron makes yet another momentous decision.

  13. Report: Lakers won’t use stretch provision on Steve Nash

    Jul 27, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    L.A. will keep Nash on the roster for the upcoming season, and take the cap hit for the $9.7 million remaining on his contract all at once.

  14. Rumor: NBA to open 2014-15 season with Spurs at Cavaliers

    Jul 27, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs

    Only other possibility would have been LeBron facing the Heat, but that feels more like Christmas.

  15. Report: Lakers say ‘no done deal’ with Byron Scott

    Jul 27, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

    Byron Scott

    Team downplays ESPN report that a contract has been agreed upon.

  16. Donatas Motiejunas doesn’t think Rockets should have paid Chandler Parsons James Harden money

    Jul 27, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Would Harden have been offended if he and Parsons made similar money?

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4478)
  2. L. James (4325)
  3. K. Love (4312)
  4. J. Nelson (3716)
  5. R. Allen (3538)
  1. C. Anthony (3038)
  2. K. Bryant (2827)
  3. D. Rose (2789)
  4. A. Wiggins (2645)
  5. C. Boozer (2155)