Blazers score big victory at Spurs
SAN ANTONIO — The Portland Trail Blazers were feeling good about themselves after withstanding a barrage from the San Antonio Spurs.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, and Portland overcame San Antonio's second-half rally to beat the Spurs 109-100 on Friday night.
"To beat the best team in the West on their floor — that sticks out," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We showed a lot of resolve at both ends of the floor. I thought we had a good defensive game throughout, except for the stretch in the third quarter when they hit the 3s."
Damian Lillard had 21 points and eight assists and Mo Williams added 13 points as Portland snapped San Antonio's six-game winning streak. Matthews shot 6 for 7 on 3-pointers, including going 3-for-3 in the final 4 minutes to snuff the Spurs' hopes.
"My teammates were finding me," Matthews said. "They did the hard job and all I had to do was knock the shots down."
Manu Ginobili had a season-high 29 points, and Boris Diaw and Marco Belinelli added 14 points each for the Spurs. Tim Duncan had 13 points and Tony Parker added 12, but the two combined for just eight points in the second half.
"It was really intense," Lillard said. "We both played physical. There were a lot of fouls called, but that was how we knew we were going to win the game. Just keep playing the same way and sticking with it."
San Antonio (31-9) still holds the West's best record, but came in with something to prove. The Spurs are aware of the criticism that they can't beat an elite team, having now gone 1-8 against the West's remaining top-five teams and the East's best, Indiana.
"No, we don't ignore anything," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's like when we started the season the first thing we did was watch Game 6 in Miami (of the NBA Finals, which the Spurs lost in overtime). We look everything square in the eye and talk about what we need to do"
The Spurs needed to control Aldridge and Lillard, but struggled to contain either.
Portland was controlling the contest when Popovich was ejected with 7:18 left in the third quarter after drawing two technical fouls during a San Antonio timeout and the Trail Blazers leading 65-55.
"We knew eventually they would find their way back into the game, especially after Pop got tossed," Lillard said. "He looked like he wanted to get tossed because he just kept going off. I knew that that would spark something in their team. They got some calls, they made some shots."
Popovich began his rant a minute earlier when Diaw fell to the court defensively after taking a bump from Aldridge that Popovich thought was a foul. Official Mark Ayotte issued the first technical after Popovich was screaming and following him around. The technical only further incensed Popovich, who was attempting to push aside his assistants to reach Ayotte when official Bill Kennedy issued a second technical.
The tirade sparked the fiery Ginobili, who scored 18 straight points to close the quarter and help San Antonio outscore Portland 23-12 following Popovich's ejection.
Thunder 127, Warriors 121
At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored a career-high 54 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors.
Durant made 19 of 28 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws in his third straight game with at least 36 points.
Heat 101, 76ers 86
At Philadelphia, LeBron James had 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and the Heat snapped a three-game losing streak.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points, Norris Cole and Shane Battier had 13 points apiece, and the Heat avoided their first four-game losing streak since March 2011. The Heat dropped games at New York, Brooklyn and Washington, but had no trouble against the Sixers in this one.
Lakers 107, Celtics 104
At Boston, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo returned from a knee injury and missed a 3-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime, sending the Lakers to the win.
Clippers 109, Knicks 95
At New York, Blake Griffin scored 32 points, Jamal Crawford added 29 and the Clippers opened a seven-game road trip with their fifth straight victory.
DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who dominated the second half to hand the Knicks their third consecutive loss.
Jazz 110, Pistons 89
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Trey Burke had 20 points and a career-high 12 assists in his return to Michigan, leading Utah to the victory.
Burke, who was the national player of the year at Michigan last season and led the Wolverines to the Final Four, had plenty of supporters in the crowd at the Palace. He shook off a slow start and outplayed Detroit counterpart Brandon Jennings as the Jazz built a big lead.
Grizzlies 91, Kings 90
At Memphis, Tenn., Mike Conley had 25 points and six assists for Memphis, and then grabbed possession of a jump ball in the final 2 seconds to help the Grizzlies secure their season-high fifth straight win.
Courtney Lee added 17 points for Memphis. Marc Gasol, in his third game back after missing 23 games with a knee injury, finished with 16 points, and Zach Randolph had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Mavericks 110, Suns 107
At Phoenix, rookie Shane Larkin scored a career-high 18 points for Dallas, including two free throws with 11.1 seconds to play.
The Suns had a chance to tie the game after Vince Carter turned it over trying to inbound the ball after a basket by Phoenix with 6.7 seconds left. But P.J. Tucker's try from the corner rimmed out, and replays showed his foot was on the line so it would have been for two points, anyway.
Raptors 94, Timberwolves 89
At Toronto, Kyle Lowry scored 24 points, Amir Johnson had 19 and the Raptors beat Minnesota for their 10th straight home victory over the Timberwolves.
DeMar DeRozan shook off a poor shooting performance to score 15 points and Terrence Ross had 16 as the Raptors won their sixth straight home game. It's their longest home streak since an eight-game run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 10, 2010.
Cavaliers 117, Nuggets 109
At Denver, Kyrie Irving scored 23 points for Cleveland, and Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
C.J. Miles added 19 points for Cleveland, including four free throws down the stretch. Luol Deng scored 18.
Wizards 96, Bulls 93
At Washington, John Wall had 23 points and 11 assists, helping the Wizards reach .500 for the third time this season.
The Wizards had six players score in double figures in their third straight victory, two of them coming against Chicago. Bradley Beal and Martell Webster had 14 points apiece.
Bobcats 111, Magic 101
At Orlando, Fla., Al Jefferson had 30 points and 16 rebounds for Charlotte, and Kemba Walker added 19 points and 10 assists.
The Magic dug out of an 18-point first-half hole and pulled to 78-76 early in the fourth quarter. But the Bobcats shot 16 for 20 on free throws in the final period to help secure the win.