Portland Trail Blazers 136, San Antonio Spurs 106: Spurs give up most points in AT&T Center history

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AT&T CENTER—Rain or shine, metaphorically speaking, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is usually one of the most dependable post games quotes in the NBA.

Regardless of team or individual performance on any given night, Ginobili makes his way to a spot just a few feet from his locker about 10 minutes after the media has been allowed in. Barefooted, there he always lays out a towel to stand on while patiently answering all questions.

After giving up the most points allowed in AT&T Center history in the San Antonio Spurs 106-136 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, 15 minutes into the media interviews, Ginobili was nowhere to be found.

By the time he made his way to his locker, his teammates, television crews, and all but a newspaper reporter and blogger had already cleared the area. Quite frankly there wasn’t much to ask after a night like this, and in front of a large audience perhaps Ginobili wouldn’t have had as much to say.

“I go through two things,” Ginobili said. “During the game I’m embarrassed. You can’t take it and you try and do too many things. You say, ‘they kicked our butts,’ but then you have to erase it and move on to Oklahoma City.”

His team sinking in quicksand, Ginobili tried to stem the tide of the onslaught that was future Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. Trying to answer three-pointers with contested three-pointers, the Spurs got away from their system as they were torn apart by a brilliant individual performance (35 points, nine assists, zero turnovers) from Lillard.

The Spurs finally faced the wrong end of the point guard business. While they survived the first two games without Tony Parker, they had yet to face anyone like Parker himself. Lillard is that. His understanding of the NBA pick and roll, changing up pace, directions, and attacking angles, are rare for most point guards, let alone one in his first season.

“He was pretty special. He just bid his time in the first half,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “In the second half Lillard just took over and we just couldn’t stop him. They had a great night shooting, they shot the hell out of it.”

“That’s a bad combination if they’re doing that and we’re playing poor defense,” Popovich added. “I can’t remember a night where we played that poorly and, at the same time, the other team shot the heck out of it.”

There hasn’t been a home game like this in the entire Popovich era. The breakdown started in the first half when the San Antonio Spurs surrendered 26 points in the paint to the Trail Blazers, and 19 points overall to J.J. Hickson.

Getting the worst of it was DeJuan Blair, who had put together a string of solid performances over the past few games. Late in the second quarter Blair lost Hickson on an inbounds play for an alley-oop dunk, a seemingly recurring theme for the Spurs against the Trail Blazers. Portland took a six-point lead and Blair never saw the floor again.

Still, the Spurs managed to tie the game on the strength of a late Ginobili scoring spree. Given a second chance, the Spurs figured to regroup at half.

“We didn’t play well in the first half. I think we had a good opportunity and we let it go. Even with that we came back by halftime, not deserving it, but we tied it,” Ginobili said. “ Lillard got hot.”

Lillard erupted for 25 points in the second half, hitting 3-4 from behind the three-point line (the Trail Blazers shot 11-15 as a team from three in the second half), leaving Danny Green to say and tweet he felt “violated” after the game.

It was a performance the Spurs couldn’t really control, though each player lamented their failure to handle everything else they had control over.

“It was a combination of us playing bad and them playing well,” Duncan said. “Obviously, we’ll try to learn from it. There will be a bunch of film session involved in this one, but hopefully we can regroup and come back fetter for the next one.”

 

  • Graham

    Exactly my takeaway from the game. Lillard just seems to own us for whatever reason, with or without parker. Just gotta put it behind us and move on to OKC, and pray these guys don’t get the 8 seed somehow, heh.

  • junierizzle

    Just one of those games man. The only reason I’m a little mad is because this is the same team that can’t put it in the ocean in Staples Center. Yet they always been to light up the Spurs. Spurs did play some bad D too. Wesley Mathews was practically open every time he shot. Spurs gave up too many second chances. Defense ends when you secure the rebound.

  • junierizzle

    8th seed will be tough no matter who it is. Lakers, Houston, Blazers, Warriors. All teams that like to play fast except Lakers. Lakers match up good with the Spurs and they both like to play half-court ball. Too early to tell. Spurs could easily drop to the 2nd as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    Two aberrations of the night: 1. The above. 2. A Spur gets Dunk of the Night on NBA.com
    http://www.nba.com/video/channels/top_plays/2013/03/08/20130308-dunk-of-the-night.nba/index.html

    I would trade #2 for a win in an instant, but at least #2 happened?!

  • merkin

    Couldn’t have gone better. Nothing like giving up 136 and getting beat by 30 to get you ready for OKC– a team they might actually see in the playoffs.

  • Graham

    Oh without a doubt. Just making fun of the Blazers’ inexplicable tendency to get scorching hot when they play us.

  • Graham

    Actually, that’s true. Getting your tail handed to you by a marginal playoff team likely will make the team take a hard look at their play and ideally come out much more sharp when OKC strolls in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004284551596 Brandon Vickers

    I believe Utah is in the 8 spot right now and that would be the best first round matchup for the Spurs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Just one of those shooting nights they had on us. Yes Matthews and Lillard eere open alot but Aldridge was well covered at times but still managed to drain his shots. If we meet these guys in the first round they better find answers for Aldridge and Hickson or else the those two guards will another walk in the park with our Spurs.

  • Spurholic Mumbai

    Andrew’s per point analysis would have been interesting, given the whopping Spurs received! Hope the Spurs find some answers in the practice sessions over the weekend. OKC, hopefully will not re-enact the pick and roll wih Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka, which led to 4 straight games in the WCF.

  • DL

    It is alarming that a team with championship aspirations would give up a game like that at home. Very uncharacteristic of the Spurs.

  • Andrew G

    We may have taken a thrashing tonight, but… KAWHI!!!! I’m in love with his offense as of late; he’s been merciless! He’s taken it upon himself to execute these monstrous dunks that include shoving his nuts into the defender’s face. They should’ve just given him the points instead of call the offensive foul on him from sheer dominance alone. These playoffs are going to be awesome.

  • Graham

    These games happen to the best of teams. Doubt the Heat expected to almost get beat by the Magic either, and the Blazers are much better than that. Just can’t let it become a habit.

  • T Boone

    The only thing worth remembering from this game was Kawhi’s epic dunk

  • Bob

    They don’t just happen. There’s a difference between barely losing at home and getting blown out at home.

  • Colin

    Rationalize however you want. When was the last game Miami lost by 30 at home?

    At least we aren’t peaking too early. Phoenix/Portland losses at home should be cause for concern no matter who did/didn’t play.

  • Colin

    Jazz have no chance at playoffs. They’re done.

    I’d prefer not to play Memphis in the 2nd round which is what will happen if we retain the 1 seed IMO.

  • Graham

    There really any difference between a 20 point loss and a 30 point loss? Especially with Pop’s tendency to pull the plug if the guys don’t have it in them that night?

    Again, I’m not going to be concerned unless it becomes a habit. Portland’s a good, but inconsistent, team. They brought it that night and we didn’t have it. If I see some systemic flaws in our team’s play then that’s a cause for concern.

  • Graham

    True, but not to the degree you are implying. Little difference in severity of a loss once it gets past 3 or 4 possessions.

  • Colin

    Again, rationalize however you want…………….thunder/Miami et al aren’t losing by 30 at home to blazers or to the suns at this point in the season.

    I’m hoping we get through Parker’s injury without losing too much ground in the standings. I’d rather face clippers round 2 rather than Memphis.

  • Colin

    “shoving his nuts into the defender’s face”

    Huh? I get the enthusiasm, but damn dude.

  • Graham

    Season’s not done, and losing by 20 to the Knicks at home is starting to look more and more like a fluke for the Heat. What’s to say an insane Lillard Hot streak in the 3rd isn’t a fluke?

    I may be rationalizing, but sounding the alarm bells after a single bad night is the extreme in the other direction.

  • Colin

    I realize the season isn’t done, that wasn’t my point. I will fight tooth and nail to justify why we have a fighting chance at the finals this year but I’m also a realistic dude. Flukes, maybe. However, watch what OKC and Miami do down the stretch run.

    I’m just saying that Thunder and Miami are a step ahead at this point in the season in terms of quality of play. Parker’s injury doesn’t help us much either and could either hurt us more or help us beyond comprehension, we’ll find out.

    Regular season records mean nothing come playoff time (see our past 2 seasons).

    You said the heat lost by 20 at home to the Knicks, true. However that was much earlier in the season when the Heat just got their rings and banner lofted into the ceiling. Heat recently handled them pretty good too in the Garden. I said at THIS point in the season the Thunder/Heat aren’t losing those types of games. Plus the knicks are a legit playoff team who’ve beaten the Heat twice.

  • Graham

    Running up against an underrated, if inconsistent bubble team that had a nice shooting night as they try for one last push to get into the playoffs isn’t bad. The 30 points is deceptive, given how we took our foot off the gas in the middle of the 4th.

    And didn’t the thunder come off a really bad stretch of games a week or two ago?

    The big test begins tonight. We need to see how we fare against the Thunder during a game they REALLY want sans Parker. I’m looking at tbhis game as a chance for the role players to really show the strides they have made this year.

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