SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs (6-9) put up a fantastic effort in the second game of a back to back, but the Trail Blazers escaped with a 117-110 win on their home floor.
Jakob Poeltl led the way with a career-high 31 points, and Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell each crossed the 20-point threshold. Tre Jones made an impact on both ends with 3 steals and 9 assists after missing the previous game, and Jeremy Sochan played excellent defense on Damian Lillard in crunch time. Still, San Antonio couldn't quite keep up with a hot-shooting Portland team.
San Antonio started the game strong as Devin Vassell drilled a pair of threes before Keldon Johnson added to the long-range barrage. The ball moved around better with Tre Jones back in the lineup, and Jakob Poeltl finished a few attempt inside.
Jeremy Sochan scored off a feed from Poeltl to give the Spurs an early double-digit lead, but the West-leading Blazers fought their way back in front. To close the first quarter, Tre stole an inbound and Sochan found Josh Richardson for a jumper.
Vassell opened the second with another three, then a few saucy driving layups. Isaiah Roby stunned the Portland crowd with a lefty poster dunk off a feed from Jones.
Johnson drove and found Poeltl underneath for an easy finish, then Keita Bates-Diop got it back to Sochan for a baseline dunk. The Blazers took the lead, then Vassell nailed another deep one off a feed from Keldon. Johnson hit his own three, but the Spurs trailed 62-56 at the break..
Tre Jones started the second half with a steal, then a bucket, then an assist to Poeltl, then an assist to Keldon. Poeltl tipped in a Keldon miss, then dunked on a feed from Jones, then rained home a floater.
KBD scored three in a row for the Spurs, then Johnson added a 5-point flurry of his own. Doug McDermott finished on a cut, Charles Bassey dunked off a feed from Devin, then Vassell picked off a pass and took it coast to coast for a dunk to trim Portland's lead to a pair.
Vassell hit three free throws, then Poeltl scored four consecutive buckets for the Spurs to give him a career-high and put San Antonio in front. Poeltl dimed Keldon, who scored four in a row. When he missed another try, Poeltl popped it back in like a volleyball player.
Former Spur Drew Eubanks caught it under the basket and went up for a huge bucket through a foul by Poeltl, giving Portland the lead with the free throw. Damian Lillard checked his watch, realized it was Dame time, and swished a deep, deep triple.
A few possessions later, Sochan started guarding Portland's star point guard and forced a few misses, even blocking a stepback three.
Still, the Blazers extended their lead as San Antonio misfired on the offensive end. The Spurs fell 117-110.
The Spurs are coming off a 132-95 road loss versus the Warriors.
Keldon Johnson had 15 points to lead the team while Jeremy Sochan added 12 points. Josh Richardson finished with 10 points and five rebounds while Keita Bates-Diop recorded 12 points.
"I think just looking at the other team, the way they play; defensively, offensively, they won a championship last year," Sochan said. "So I think just learning from them, the way they move off the ball is crazy, they're fast, and then defensively as well they're always talking, playing with a lot of energy, helping each other. So I think there’s a lot to learn.”
LOCKED ON SPURS GAME PREVIEW
The Spurs will be in their Association Edition jerseys tonight.
5 THINGS TO WATCH:
1. The Spurs have won four-straight games versus the Blazers.
2. The Spurs are 1-1 in the second game of a back-to-back.
3. In their nine wins this season, the Blazers are averaging 113.7 points per game.
4. The Blazers are fourth in the NBA in three-point percentage at 38.7-percent.
5. The Blazers are second in the NBA in free throws made at 20.2.
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