San Antonio's late 3-point surge dooms Trail Blazers
PORTLAND — For 44 minutes, the San Antonio Spurs had big trouble making 3-pointers. In the final 4 minutes, they couldn't miss.
Tim Duncan had 24 points and the Spurs hit five 3-pointers in a row to overtake the Portland Trail Blazers for their 10th straight victory, 99-94 Tuesday night.
Manu Ginobili had 23 points, eight in the last 2:13, and Michael Finley added 20 for the Spurs.
Rookie Brandon Roy had 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds to lead the Blazers, who lost to San Antonio for the eighth straight time and 15th in the last 16 meetings. Zach Randolph had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points.
Portland led by eight points with 4 minutes left and looked on its way to victory when the Spurs, just 4-of-16 on 3-pointers at that point, began hitting 3s.
Beno Udrih started the flurry and Ginobili made back-to-back 3s to cut the lead to 92-91. After a Blazers turnover, Udrih knocked in another 3 with 1:07 left to give the Spurs their first lead since 1-0.
Finley dropped in a 24-foot 3-pointer with 35.9 seconds left and Ginobili scored on a driving finger role to complete a 14-4 run.
"It was awesome," Duncan said. "I loved watching it. Watching Manu do what he does was an incredible stretch to watch. Mike Fin has been playing unbelievable off the bench."
Tony Parker returned briefly for the Spurs after missing two games with a strained left hip. He started and played the first half, but sat after that.
Portland shot 50 percent for the game and dominated on the glass, outrebounded San Antonio 41-34.
The Blazers hit 12 of their first 17 shots — Ime Udoka made five of them — and took an early 25-15 lead. San Antonio went on a 7-0 run, but Sergio Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer and Portland led 29-22 at the end of the first quarter. Portland went up by 11 on a layup and free throw by Magloire.
Duncan had 14 in the first half, but Portland led 54-47 at halftime.
In the third, the Blazers hit two quick shots, a jumper by Roy and a 3-pointer from Udoka, to increase their lead to 12 right out of the gate.
Portland led 74-65 at the end of the third period, but Finley went to work bringing San Antonio back into it, scoring the Spurs' next seven points to get them within four.
Rodriguez head-faked Duncan into the air and dropped in a jumper, and then fed Travis Outlaw for a nifty layup to make it 86-78.
The tables turned quick. Ginobili broke free for a dunk, and after Aldridge scored for Portland, the Spurs' 3-point carnival began.
"They played like champions down the stretch," Roy said. "I'm going to learn from this game. They picked it up in the fourth quarter. Coach said that's what champions do."
San Antonio was coming off an 88-74 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. With the win over Portland, the Spurs are 11-5 playing back-to-back nights.
"Confidence grows as you win," Duncan said. "Every step we take, we believe in each other more and more."