McCollum, Trail Blazers escape with 107-106 win over Spurs

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11) reaches for a rebound over San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – CJ McCollum scored 29 points and the Portland Trail Blazers escaped with a 107-106 victory Friday night over the San Antonio Spurs, who missed three shots on their final possession.

Portland overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half despite not having Damian Lillard, who missed the game after straining his right hamstring during practice on Thursday.

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“To get a win without Dame was very important,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “The way we came back, down 16, was important. To find a way to finish a game was important. So, I think there was a lot of positives to take from this game.”

Norman Powell added 22 points and Anfernee Simons had 16 for Portland, which snapped a two-game skid.

DeMar DeRozan had 24 points and Dejounte Murray had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for San Antonio.

Powell’s driving layup with 22.8 seconds remaining gave Portland a 107-106 lead. DeRozan missed a jumper from the wing with 9.2 seconds left, but Jakob Poeltl tipped the rebound out to Rudy Gay, who missed a 3-pointer. Poeltl got the rebound but missed a 17-footer as time expired.

The Spurs also had two turnovers in the final 2 minutes.

“We played hard the whole night,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “But down the stretch, too many mistakes on the defensive end and a couple of turnovers.”

The Spurs fell to 2-7 in April after blowing another lead in the final minutes.

Seven players scored at least eight points for the Trail Blazers, including a combined 39 points from reserves Carmelo Anthony, Enes Kanter and Simons. Kanter had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“When you have a win like this on the road, and you come from 16 down, you have to have a lot of contributions from different people,” Stotts said.

McCollum and Powell combined for 15 points in the final quarter.

“For us, it’s just about taking care of business with 16, 17 games left,” McCollum said.

DeRozan and Popovich argued that a foul should have been called during the final possession, without success.

“We just came up short, made some mistakes and they capitalized on them and they won the game,” Murray said.

Portland closed the third quarter with a 24-10 run and scored the opening basket of the final period to tie the game at 85.


Popovich said he was “really worried” when he first heard former Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge was retiring due to an irregular heartbeat. Popovich mentioned the heart arrhythmia Aldridge experienced in March 2017 while with the Spurs.

“It was serious,” Popovich said. “It scared the hell out of him and us. Obviously, it’s popped up again. So, I was just worried about it. He’s had a long, great career. He’s going to be fine financially, and he’s got a lot of good memories, but your health is what makes everything tick. So, we just hope for the best.”

During his 15th season, Aldridge announced Thursday he is retiring immediately after dealing with an irregular heartbeat in what became his final game April 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Aldridge spent 5 1/2 seasons with San Antonio before signing with Brooklyn on March 29 following a buyout with the Spurs.


Blazers: Stotts said Lillard sat as a precaution after he reported no improvement in his right hamstring Friday. Stotts was unsure if Lillard would play Sunday at Charlotte. ... Portland is 87-88 against San Antonio. The Spurs have a winning record against every existing franchise in the league, but their narrowest margin is against the Blazers. ... Derrick Jones has started a career-high 41 games this season. He started a combined 46 games in his prior four seasons, including his previous high of 16 starts last season for Miami.

Spurs: Murray had his third triple-double of the season. … Patty Mills became the seventh player to appear in 650 games for the franchise. Mills joined David Robinson, George Gervin, Sean Elliott and former teammates Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.


Trail Blazers: At Charlotte on Sunday.

Spurs: At Phoenix on Saturday.


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