Leonard, Spurs beat cold Blazers
PORTLAND — Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed the Portland Trail Blazers their fifth straight loss, winning 110-90 on Friday night despite resting key players.
Patty Mills added 23 points off the bench for the Spurs, who led by as many as 21 points in the second half. Former BlazerLaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Damian Lillard had 16 points and 10 assists for his seventh double-double of the season for the slumping Blazers, who have lost nine of their last 10 games.
The Spurs rested Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Coach Gregg Popovich said the night off was necessary because the Spurs "play four games in 5½ days."
"The guys that have a little age on them, there's no way they can play that many games," Popovich said. The trio has 44 years combined in the NBA.
The Spurs were coming off a 106-101 loss the night before to the Los Angeles Clippers, snapping a five-game winning streak. San Antonio has won nine of its last 11 games.
Replacing Parker and Gasol in the starting lineup were DeWayne Dedmon and rookie Dejounte Murray.
It was Aldridge's second trip back to the Moda Center with San Antonio. Aldridge played for the Blazers for the first nine seasons of his career before heading to the Spurs in 2015 as a free agent.
Some fans apparently hadn't gotten over his departure, and booed him at introductions and when he had the ball.
Portland was without Evan Turner, who missed his third straight game with a sore ankle.
Ed Davis' follow shot for the Blazers evened the score at 27 at the end of the first quarter. Aldridge's turnaround hook gave the Spurs a 43-33 lead midway thought the second quarter.
The Spurs pushed the lead to 52-40 on Jonathan Simmons' basket and went into the break ahead 57-45. Lillard struggled in the first half, making just two of eight shots from the floor with five points, but he had six assists.
Mills' 3-pointer pushed San Antonio's lead to 83-66 in the third quarter, and Leonard's fast-break layup made it 96-78 with 7:15 left.
Spurs: The Spurs are one of 10 NBA teams playing on Christmas Day this year. San Antonio will host the Chicago Bulls. Popovich was asked before the game what he thought of the holiday tradition. "They're pretty exciting, actually. Sure, I'd rather spend it with my family, but the fans love it," he said. ... It was the eighth time this season that Leonard has scored more than 30 points.
Trail Blazers: Lillard made a three-quarter court basket at the half just after the buzzer as the teams left the court. ... Meyers Leonard had a season-high 16 points off the bench.
Spurs: The Spurs host the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day.
Trail Blazers: The Blazers host the Toronto Raptors on Monday.