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Aldridge, Matthews lead Trail Blazers past Spurs

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm •  Published: January 17, 2014
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers were feeling good about themselves after withstanding a barrage from the San Antonio Spurs.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, and Portland overcame San Antonio's second-half rally to beat the Spurs 109-100 on Friday night.

"To beat the best team in the West on their floor — that sticks out," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We showed a lot of resolve at both ends of the floor. I thought we had a good defensive game throughout, except for the stretch in the third quarter when they hit the 3s."

Damian Lillard had 21 points and eight assists and Mo Williams added 13 points as Portland snapped San Antonio's six-game winning streak. Matthews shot 6 for 7 on 3-pointers, including going 3 for 3 in the final 4 minutes to snuff the Spurs' hopes.

"My teammates were finding me," Matthews said. "They did the hard job and all I had to do was knock the shots down."

Manu Ginobili had a season-high 29 points, and Boris Diaw and Marco Belinelli added 14 points each for the Spurs. Tim Duncan had 13 points and Tony Parker added 12, but the two combined for just eight points in the second half.

"It was really intense," Lillard said. "We both played physical. There were a lot of fouls called, but that was how we knew we were going to win the game. Just keep playing the same way and sticking with it."

San Antonio (31-9) still holds the West's best record, but came in with something to prove. The Spurs are aware of the criticism that they can't beat an elite team, having now gone 1-8 against the West's remaining top-five teams and the East's best, Indiana.

"No, we don't ignore anything," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's like when we started the season the first thing we did was watch Game 6 in Miami (of the NBA Finals, which the Spurs lost in overtime). We look everything square in the eye and talk about what we need to do"

The Spurs needed to control Aldridge and Lillard, but struggled to contain either.

Portland was controlling the contest when Popovich was ejected with 7:18 left in the third quarter after drawing two technical fouls during a San Antonio timeout and the Trail Blazers leading 65-55.

"We knew eventually they would find their way back into the game, especially after Pop got tossed," Lillard said. "He looked like he wanted to get tossed because he just kept going off. I knew that that would spark something in their team. They got some calls they made some shots."

Popovich began his rant a minute earlier when Diaw fell to the court defensively after taking a bump from Aldridge that Popovich thought was a foul. Official Mark Ayotte issued the first technical after Popovich was screaming and following him around. The technical only further incensed Popovich, who was attempting to push aside his assistants to reach Ayotte when official Bill Kennedy issued a second technical.

The tirade sparked the fiery Ginobili, who scored 18 straight points to close the quarter and help San Antonio outscore Portland 33-12 following Popovich's ejection.

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