Portland Trail Blazers 99, San Antonio Spurs 86: How no one fouled out of this game, I’ll never know
In the NBA, bad games are to be expected. You can’t play at the highest level every night. Eventually, you’re going to find one game where every person is struggling. But enough about the refs, the Spurs didn’t play very well either in a 99-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Personally, I’m against blaming refs for a loss. The attempt at a creative lede aside, the refs never decide a game. There are always so many other factors at play.Â ButÂ it has to be acknowledged that the officials in this game were not at their best.
The Spurs ended up committing 20 fouls in the game, one-and-a-half more fouls than they’re averaging on the season. The Blazers committed 17 fouls, more than three under the 20.4 they’re averaging this year.
But the way the Spurs defended was a huge factor in why they were whistled for so many fouls in Portland. It reminded me of the first half of the game against the Raptors a couple of weeks ago. The Spurs were sluggish in their rotations and just a split second late.
Not necessarily lazy — although there was some of that too — but they just weren’t sharp.Â In the NBA the difference between being sharp and not can be the difference between a foul and good defense.
Also a big problem for the Spurs was the free throw shooting. When the Spurs did draw fouls and go to the free throw line, well, they sucked. San Antonio shot just 15 free throws in the game and sunk only eight of them. LaMarcus Aldridge hit 8-9 free throws in the game for the Blazers and, oh by the way, finished with a career-high 40 points.
The Blazers as a team shot 51% from the field compared to the Spurs’ 53% from the free throw line. So yeah, the Spurs probably deserved to lose this game.
For San Antonio, no one stood out and had a top-notch game. It looked like DeJuan Blair might after he had a double-double in the first half. But Blair didn’t contribute much at all in the second half and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The only notable game for the Spurs was Antonio McDyess’ because it was so bad. Dice finished with seven points and six rebounds in almost 28 minutes, which are better numbers than his season averages, but boy were those minutes bad.
Dice had the second worst +/- on the team at -10, and was in pole position for the worst until George Hill led the team on a negative tear and stole the bottom with a -15.
Dice also had four turnovers and three fouls. For a big man who handles the ball as little as Dice, four turnovers is inexcusable. For the cherry on top,Â Dice shot just 1-4 from the free throw line.
It’s not the start to the Rodeo Road Trip that the Spurs were looking for, obviously. Now with the Los Angeles Lakers looming on Thursday night, San Antonio faces the prospect of an 0-2 start to the annual trek around the continental NBA landscape.