The old guard of the Spurs wins to the thousand lives of Lillard

The point guard, with more intention than brilliance this time, tried everything but the losses of his Blazers (Nurkic and McCollum, mainly) weigh a lot.


The Spurs are there. It is difficult for them to lose matches in which the rival is not at their level, to lose because of their sins. They play, they go as far as they go. Which is far less far now than during the heydays of his dynasty, a miracle in motion in the Western Conference. After being (finally!) Out of the playoffs last season, they are not in this one among the favorites to finish in the top eight. But they will be there, winning when they can and losing when there is no choice. And if things start to happen to others ... if some accumulate injuries, others give the cante or someone collapses at the wrong time, Gregg Popovich's men will greet just behind, asking who gives the turn.

The Blazers are one of those who had to be yes or yes ahead of the Spurs ... but they are having problems. First, they did not prove to have fixed their porous defense sufficiently or to be regular at last. Once again a team capable of beating everyone else and looking elite on good nights, and a strange derangement capable of losing to anyone on bad nights. Then Collins was injured again. And then Nurkic got injured. And finally a McCollum who was signing a brilliant start to the season has been injured. Total, that the two, Blazers and Spurs, are tied (8-6) after the exhibition of the Texans (104-125) in Oregon.

The Spurs played the whole game at their own pace and always saw the Blazers in the rearview mirror, who were squeezing Damian Lillard (33 points, 6 assists but 3/10 in triples) and the presence of Derrick Jones in defense and Hood (21 points) and Carmelo Anthony (14) in attack. But every time Popovich's men picked up their pace a bit, the Blazers picked up the pace. This was how it was played until a 60-70 turned into an 80-78, a local reaction that ended there. Since then, nothing has been the way it had to go for the Blazers, sunk in a tremendous last quarter (22-38) that the Spurs opened with 0-8 (82-95) and in which they scored nine triples. In that statistic they won more than half a game, with five more triples (10 for 15) than the Blazers who could not afford such a disadvantage.

Lillard could not shoot epic this time and the old guard of the Spurs sentenced: 21 points and 5 triples by Rudy Gay, 21 and 5 triples (10/15 between the two) by Patty Mills, suspensions by LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points) and direction of DeMar DeRozan (20 points, 11 assists). And the Spurs won because they never give away anything. And if the rival allows it, they bite. And these Blazers, without McCollum or Nurkic, allowed it and face weeks that are not going to be easy and in which the supreme version of Lillard better appear. Because if not ...

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