Trail Blazers vs Spurs Monday, 03/28/11 AT 05:30PM

Miller’s 26 Leads Rally Over Spurs

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers got their third straight series win over the San Antonio Spurs and finished Monday’s 100-92 victory off on a 28-12 run behind a team-high 26 points, two assists and two rebounds from Andre Miller.

    Miller shot 9-of-15 from the floor and made 8-of-10 free throws to push the Trail Blazers (43-31) past the Spurs (57-17) in three consecutive games after trailing by eight with 9:18 left in the fourth.

    “He did put us on his back,” said Trail Blazer Head Coach. “We tried to take advantage of our matchups and Andre made some big plays down the stretch and he had to carry us.”

    George Hill led all scorers with 27 points, two rebounds and six assists as San Antonio dropped four straight without Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess, who all were sidelined with injuries.

    Wesley Matthews recorded 19 points and five rebounds, and Gerald Wallace registered 14 points and seven rebounds and hit a 3-pointer that capped a 13-0 run for a 87-81 lead with 2:02 in play.

    “Our guys coming off of a back to back—it was a gut check for us in the fourth quarter,” said McMillan, “Having to refocus in that fourth quarter and make stops, you know it’s a challenging game for us but we got it.”

    The Spurs claimed their first lead of the game after Daniel Green’s three lifted San Antonio 68-67 in the third quarter and went into the fourth up 72-67. Green scored seven points off the bench.

    A pair of threes from Gary Neal, who had eight points, pushed the 80-72 margin in the fourth, when Portland started to play lockdown defense to hold San Antonio without a field goal in eight minutes.

    “You come to the arena and Tony (Parker) is not playing and (Antonio) McDyess is not playing,” said McMillan. “For our guys you put pressure on yourself and you can’t do that.”

    Brando Roy, who had 11 points off the bench, ignited the run with a jumper and Batum’s three cut the lead to 81-79. Batum ended with 10 points and a career high in defensive rebounds with 13. 

    Matthews’ free throw brought the Trail Blazers within one and Miller’s stumbling layup through the lane grabbed Portland’s lead back, 82-81, with 3:24 remaining.

    The Trail Blazers defense finally started to disrupt the Spur’s offense, which missed 10 of their next 11 baskets after holding the eight-point lead.
    “It’s called ‘game’,” said Popovich. “It’s a game that happens to everybody from time to time. Sometimes they don’t go down.”

    Portland finished the game outscoring San Antonio 33-20, but faced a season-low output after putting up only nine points in the third quarter. 

    The Spurs scored a 21-9 edge in the third after starting on a 9-2 run to tie the game 60-60. Splitter, who had 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds, scored on consecutive reverse lay-ins and hit a free throw as Portland went on a 1-for-7 shooting drought.

    Miller’s free throw and Roy’s jumper gave the Trail Blazers a 63-60 edge, but Green’s three directed San Antonio to a 7-0 run to end the third.

    “Yeah, we fight, we hustle, we do everything that Coach Pop asks us to do and we almost got it,” said Splitter. “I feel bad for the last three or four minutes when they hit a couple shots and we didn’t.”

    Parker (left knee contusion) and McDyess (sore back) did not play and status came as a surprise to the Trail Blazers, who had earlier game planned for Ginobili (left quad contusion) and Duncan (left sprained ankle) to sit out.

    Despite the depleted roster, the Spurs still shot above the 50-percent mark before the break. Portland also had a hot hand with 12 points from Miller as the Trail Blazers made 60 percent from the floor and 71 percent from beyond the arc in two quarters. 

    “Well it was a challenge,” said McMillan. “Like I said it was a trap game once we got to the arena, but he is in the position to do that.”

    The Trail Blazers have split their road matches and will cap off their trip in New Orleans to take on the Western Conference’s No. 7 Hornets (42-32) on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM. 

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