PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and 11 assists and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 125-104 on Monday.
Rudy Gay and Patty Mills came off the bench for 21 points apiece as the Spurs reserves outscored Portland backups 59-24. Reserve center Jakob Poeltl added 11 points and seven rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass.
“Their bench hurt us,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “The shooting off the bench, the second-chance opportunities. They really hurt us. They had 10 second-chance points in the fourth quarter.”
Aldridge, playing against the team he spent nine years with, got things rolling for the Spurs.
“He set the tone early,” Gay said. “He got to his spots and he knocked down his shots. Him knocking down shots and pulling out the big men kind of opens things up. It opens up cracks and DeMar slips through those cracks.”
Aldridge scored eight points in the first quarter.
“He didn’t catch and think about it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He was just determined to let it fly.”
Between DeRozan and point guard Dejounte Murray, the Spurs also had two players with 11 assists apiece while the Blazers had just 20 total assists as a team.
“They’re unselfish guys and they don’t really care who scores,” Popovich said of his two offensive conductors. “They just play the game the right way.”
Damian Lillard led Portland with 35 points.
Carmelo Anthony’s basket with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter gave the Trail Blazers an 80-78 lead.
The Spurs took over from there, later using an 11-0 run for a 95-82 lead early in the fourth period. Rodney Hood’s 3-pointer on the next Blazers possession after a timeout stopped that burst, but San Antonio kept pulling away.
With his bench playing so well and extending the lead, Popovich elected stick with a bench-heavy unit to close out the victory.
Spurs: The game was played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the NBA celebrates the holiday with a big slate of games every year. Popovich, who is often outspoken about matters outside of the game, called the civil rights leader a “modern founding father” and the “conscience” of the country.
Blazers: After leaving Saturday night’s game against Atlanta with a sprained foot, guard CJ McCollum will be out at least another week, Stotts said. McCollum will be re-evaluated next week after MRIs showed the sprain. McCollum was averaging a career-high 26.7 points and five assists per game prior to the injury. Hood got the start in McCollum’s place, with Stotts citing his preference to bring Gary Trent Jr.’s scoring off the bench.
Hood had a season-high 21 points in his first start since suffering a torn Achilles on Dec. 6, 2019. “The coaches and (Lillard) were telling me to be aggressive,” Hood said after the game. “I felt good about that and it did a lot for my confidence.” Lillard didn’t want to speculate too much after the game but he says he’s “not worried” about McCollum missing extended time.
Blazers: The Memphis Grizzlies come to Portland on Wednesday for the first of a two-game set.
Spurs: Visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports