Thursday, November 10, 2016
Spurs lay an egg early, but tremendous rally catapults them to victory, lead 2-0 after 119-130 victory.
The Trail Blazers came out blasting, outscoring the Spurs 34-22, and then 35-32 in the second quarter. The Spurs looked hopeless and destined to give in, surrendering a 1-1 split as the series would move to Portland for Game 3.
But something happened, a spark, something...the Spurs edged Portland in the 3rd quarter, 31-25, and then a mountainous rally in the 4th quarter easily became the wildest moment of the playoffs yet. San Antonio walloped the Blazers 45-25, and all struggles they once had vanished!
Kawhi Leonard would not be denied, catching lightning in a bottle with 37 points, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals off 5 three-pointers, including an ice-cold dagger from long range to finish the insane comeback. On the fast break, he resembled his rival LeBron James, rumbling down like a polished freight train for several layups in the deciding moments of the game.
Danny Green was not far behind with 30 points off eight--yes, eight--three balls after struggling terribly for 3/4 of the game, making one on the fast break that turned the tide for good. Pau Gasol's experience came in handy too, scoring 17 points with 11 rebounds. Dewayne Dedmon had 11 rebounds as well. Tony Parker hit a clutch jumper off a screen late to pad the newfound lead for the defending champions, finishing with 17 points and 7 assists.
How it happened is hard to explain, but the Spurs crunched down, reached deeply inside of their dreams, and soon the Blazers were turning the ball over, never getting a shot off, robbing themselves of a chance to respond back to the unforeseen rally, playing an otherwise perfect 3 quarters on the road. Damian Lillard had 21 points and a career-high 20 assists, but 3 late turnovers were deadly. CJ McCollum had 25 points, but 6 turnovers in the game, late mostly as well. Al-Farouq Aminu had 21 points, Evan Turner had 13, Ed Davis had a double-double, as did Mason Plumlee with 15 rebounds. The Blazers will head back home, feeling a mixture of emotions after this peculiar loss when it all seemed to be going their way.
Michael Carter-Williams had 8 points with 5 assists, using his long limbs to bother the Blazers' talent, also making two clutch free throws to secure the lead in the final minute and driving hard for a monumental layup late. Manu Ginobili had 8 points.
This fight is just what Coach Pop needed from his players to show the world that this season's title is not a dead giveaway to the Golden State Warriors, because the San Antonio Spurs are still the defending champions and this game reminded us all how they won in the first place.