Lillard leads Blazers past short-handed Spurs
PORTLAND — Damian Lillard had 23 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers downed the short-handed San Antonio Spurs 108-95 on Monday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won seven of their last nine games. But starting center Robin Lopez injured his right hand early in the second half and did not return.
Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who had just 10 players available. Tim Duncan, who had 15 points and nine rebounds in a 99-91 victory the night before, was given the night off.
In addition to Duncan, the Spurs were also missing a number of players because of injuries. Manu Ginobili was out with a lower back bruise, while Tony Parker missed a second straight game because of a strained left hamstring.
Tiago Splitter was still rehabbing a high calf injury, and Patty Mills continues to recover after offseason right shoulder surgery.
The only two regular starters who played against the Blazers were Leonard and Danny Green. But Leonard gingerly held his left hand late in the game — the same hand that forced him to miss a pair of games earlier this month.
The Blazers faced the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals last season, with San Antonio taking the series 4-1 on the way to the NBA championship. It was the first time Portland had advanced beyond the first round since 2000.
The Blazers held an edge on the Spurs for most of the first half, but began to pull away when Lillard's layup put Portland ahead 33-26. The Spurs closed the gap to 37-36 after Green's basket.
Portland never let the Spurs any closer and led 48-43 at the half.
Lopez left in the third quarter after hitting his hand hard on Boris Diaw's head. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.
Steve Blake his a 19-foot jumper that gave the Blazers an 80-70 lead early in the fourth quarter. Lillard extended it to 89-77 with a 3-pointer.
Lillard became first NBA player with 500 or more points, 150 or more assists, 125 or more rebounds and 60 or more 3-pointers in the season's first 25 games since Gary Payton (1999-00).
Spurs: The absence of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili doesn't necessarily doom the Spurs. ... Earlier this month the "Big 3" sat out against the New York Knicks and San Antonio won 109-95 on the road.
Blazers: Aldridge was honored before the game for passing Terry Porter for second on the Blazers' franchise scoring list. Team owner Paul Allen was on hand for the pregame ceremony. ... Aldridge has 13 double-doubles this season.