Portland Trail Blazers (42-26) vs. Spurs (40-29)
When, where: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Last season: Spurs won series 2-1
All-time series record: Spurs lead 85-84
Season series: Blazers lead 2-1
Last meeting: Blazers 127, Spurs 118, Feb. 7, Portland
Blazers' last game: Beat Pelicans 122-110, Friday, New Orleans
Spurs' last game: Beat Knicks 109-83, Friday, AT&T Center
Blazers' last 10 games/streak: 7-3, won three
Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 7-3, won seven
Blazers' injury/inactive report: None to report
Spurs' injury/inactive report: Forward Ben Moore (G League assignment), out; point guard Dejounte Murray (torn right anterior cruciate ligament), out.
Notable: The Spurs are sixth in the Western Conference standings, trailing No. 5 Oklahoma City (42-27) by two games and leading No. 7 Utah (39-29 by a half-game . . . If the postseason started Saturday, the Silver and Black would play No. 3 seed Houston in the first round . . . San Antonio has 13 games left in the regular season, seven at home and six on the road . . . The Spurs opened a four-game home stand Friday night. After playing Portland, the Silver and Black play defending league champion Golden State on Monday and Miami on Wednesday. . . The Spurs are the only NBA team with an all-time winning record against every team in the league, but they're only one game above .500 (85-84) in their series against the Blazers . . . San Antonio's run of seven consecutive victories is the longest active win streak in the NBA and the Spurs' longest of the season . . .
SAN ANTONIO – The surging Spurs ran roughshod over the New York Knicks on Friday night, cruising to a 26-point rout for their seventh consecutive victory overall and ninth straight at home.
While the Silver and Black are on a roll and own the NBA’s longest active win streak, they probably will face tougher sledding Saturday night when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers (42-26) are fourth in the Western Conference standings, trailing No. 3 Houston by only a half-game and leading No. 5 Oklahoma City by the same margin. San Antonio (40-29) is No. 6 with 13 games left on its schedule, seven at home and six on the road.
The Spurs and Blazers both will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland beat the Pelicans 122-110 Friday night in New Orleans, and San Antonio rolled to a 109-83 rout of the New York Knicks.
“We played a lot of people and that was fortunate because we have a real tough game tomorrow,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Friday’s game.
Inconsistent throughout most of the season, the Spurs’ defense has improved steadily during the team’s seven-game winning streak, which began after they went 1-7 on their annual rodeo road trip. San Antonio leads the NBA in scoring defense, allowing an average of 102.9 points per 100 possessions.
“I think it’s more of a focus and them understanding that when we play good defense, we’re a darn good team,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, when he was asked if the improvement on defense can be attributed to the players getting more comfortable with the system.
The Blazers lead the season series against the Silver and Black 2-1, with both victories coming in Portland. The Spurs won the second meeting 131-118 Dec. 2 at the AT&T Center.
“They’ve been winning,” Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge said of the Blazers on Friday night. “They just got a solid win tonight, so we’ve got to bring our defense and try to key in and try to slow down Damian (Lillard) and C.J. (McCollum), and just try to have our schemes ready.”
Lillard, an All-Star point guard, moved past Aldridge for the No. 2 spot on Portland’s all-time scoring list on Friday night. Aldridge played nine seasons with the Blazers before signing with the Spurs as an unrestricted free agent in July 2015. He and Lillard were teammates for three seasons in Portland.
Aldridge said during his postgame interview Friday night that he already had texted Lillard his congratulations.
“Bittersweet but great guy,” Aldridge said. “He’s worked hard and he’s earned it. I’m competitive, so it hurts. But I’m happy for him.”
Lillard, who is in his seventh NBA season, all with Portland, trailed Aldridge by only two points (12,562-12,560) for the No. 2 on Portland’s all-time scoring list going into Friday’s game. He scored 24 points in the victory against New Orleans to raise his point total to 15,584. The Blazers’ all-time leading scorer is Clyde Drexler, who amassed 18,040 points in 12 seasons.
Lillard is averaging 26 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists this season.
McCollum, also a guard, scored 23 points against the Pelicans, and Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood each finished with 17. Zach Collins scored 12 points and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who improved to 8-3 since the All-Star break.
Portland beat New Orleans despite the Pelicans getting a stellar game from forward/center Julius Randle, who had a career-high 45 points and added 11 rebounds. He fell four assists short of a triple-double.
Aldridge recorded his 25th double-double of the season in the win over the Knicks, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He had scored at least 22 points in seven consecutive games, and averaged 27.6 points and 10 rebounds in San Antonio's first five games in March.
“He’s been playing at a high level for a long time in is career,” point guard Derrick White said of Aldridge. “He’s been huge for us all year.”