Blazers win in San Antonio
The Trail Blazers knocked off the host San Antonio Spurs 110-106 on Wednesday night.
Damian Lillard (36 points) and CJ McCollum (26) led the Blazers' attack, per usual.
A three-point play by former Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who had missed two games with a minor heart arrythmia, pulled the Spurs to within 104-102 with 55 seconds remaining.
Portland center Jusuf Nurkic threw the inbound pass away, but the Blazers got a break when Spurs star Kawhi Leonard missed an open layup.
Lillard then missed a wild shot, and the rebound caromed way past the 3-point line, where Nurkic happened to be standing, and as he was trapped, the Blazers managed to call a timeout, just avoiding a jump ball with 19.1 seconds remaining.
The Spurs were forced to foul, which sent McCollum to the free-throw line. He made both shots to boost Portland's lead to 106-102 at the 14.9-second mark.
San Antonio guard Patty Mills, another former Blazer, hit a corner 3 with 8.8 seconds left.
The Spurs had to foul again, and this time Lillard sank both free throws, putting Portland's lead at 108-105.
With 2.5 seconds left, Nurkic ran into San Antonio's Manu Ginobili going for a loose ball. Ginobili went to the foul line and missed his first free throw, all but sealing the Spurs' fate. He tried to intentionally miss his second one — but it caromed off the backboard, high off the rim and down through the net.
Portland added a couple of points on Lillard's free throws with 1.7 seconds to play.
Leonard led the Spurs with 35 points. Aldridge had 19 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
Nurkic had 16 points and nine rebounds, with five turnovers, in 34 minutes.
San Antonio began Wednesday only a half-game behind Golden State for first place in the NBA Western Conference. The Spurs (52-15) fell to 25-7 at home this season.
The Blazers 2-1 on a five-game road stretch, are 30-37 overall, including 13-23 away.
Idle Denver 32-35 has the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, with Portland and others chasing the Nuggets. The list includes Minnesota, Dallas, New Orleans and Sacramento.
On Wednesday, Minnesota (28-39) lost at Boston, but Dallas (29-38) won at Washington, while New Orleans (27-41) lost at Miami, and Sacramento (27-41) won at Phoenix.
So, Denver is up two games on Portland, three on Dallas, four on Minnesota, and 5 1/2 on New Orleans and Sacramento.
The Spurs couldn't shake the Blazers in the first half and had to settle for a 55-54 lead.
Lillard (16 points), McCollum (13) and Allen Crabbe (10) dominated the first-half offense for the visitors, while the Spurs were highly dependent on Leonard, who had 17 points at the break.
The Blazers led 82-80 after three quarters, and they were on top 100-83 with just over five minutes to go.