Lillard scores 29, Blazers defeat Spurs 98-90

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 14, 2012 at 1:39 am •  Published: December 14, 2012
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Batum also missed the victory over the Raptors, but he started on Thursday night. He said afterward he played in pain the whole game.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Batum's 3-pointer decided it.

"We hung in there but Nicolas killed us with that 3 at the very end," Popovich said. "It could have been anybody's game but for that 3."

Luke Babbitt made a 3-pointer to put Portland in front 32-25 early on. But former Trail Blazer Patty Mills hit a 23-foot jumper to tie it 32-all, and Green added a fast-break layup to give San Antonio the lead. It didn't last long, however, and Portland reclaimed the lead with Will Barton's dunk and another 3 by Babbitt.

Lillard made a long jumper to end the first half with the Blazers up 49-45.

His pull-up jumper made it 61-57 midway through a tight third quarter. Already-hurting Portland got a scare a short time later when Aldridge fell hard to the court and took a few moments to get up.

Lillard and Babbitt each hit long jumpers and Sasha Pavlovic added a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 72-61. Lillard had 12 points in the third quarter alone.

"I think he's a wonderful player," Popovich said. "His skills are obvious, but I like his demeanor as much as I like his skills. He really plays within himself, he's not afraid of contact and he really understands how to take advantage of situations."

San Antonio is 4-2 on the back end of back-to-back games. The other loss came against the Miami Heat on Nov. 29, notable because Popovich did not play starters Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Green. The Spurs were subsequently fined by the NBA.

NOTES: The Blazers held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the shooting Tuesday night at Clackamas Town Center in suburban Portland. Two people were killed and another was wounded by a masked gunman who fatally shot himself. ... The Spurs beat the Blazers 112-109 on Nov. 10 to snap a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. San Antonio rallied for the win after trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter. ... San Antonio scored fewer than 90 points for the fifth time this season.