Splitter, Leonard, bench lift Spurs to victory


The San Antonio Spurs shook off a slow start to improved their record (8-4) by beating the Portland Trail Blazers (7-4) 99-83 on Friday night and stay unbeaten at home.

Tiago Splitter gave the Spurs a huge offensive boost finishing with 14 points, 10 of which came in the decisive third quarter when the team was struggling on offense.

It was the Spurs’  best start since the 2007-08 season when they started 13-0.

With Tim Duncan and Tony Parker struggling for three quarters, and LaMarcus Aldridge dominating on the inside, the Spurs found themselves in the middle of a scoring drought and things were looking bleak for the Spurs at that point.

However, Tiago Splitter, rookie Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Spurs bench rose to the challenge to save the Spurs for what appeared to be an impending loss.

Trailing 57-52 with 4:50 left in the third period, Splitter came off the bench to  provide an instant spark on both ends of the floor. He scored eight straight points for the Spurs while defending the interior on the other end as San Antonio re-take the lead 59-57 with a little over three minutes in the third.

At the start of the fourth quarter, it was Leonard’s turn to shine offensively.

After DeJuan Blair tied the game at 67, Leonard hit a 3-pointer that gave the Spurs a 70-67 advantage. It sparked a 12-0 San Antonio run that broke the game wide open.

Danny Green and Tony Parker scored on the Spurs’ next two offensive trips and Matt Bonner made a shot from beyond the arc, then Leornard hit another layup off a Blair assist as the Spurs extended their lead 79-67 with 8:42 remaining.

The Spurs never trailed again after that.

Duncan and Splitter did not play the entire fourth quarter, while Parker scored 12 of his 20 points in the final period when he was re-inserted late in the game to provide some finishing touches.

“They did a pretty good job on me the first three quarters,” Parker said. “I was just trying to wait for my time.”

Parker made only 4-of-12 shots and had four turnovers through the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, he went 4-of-4 from the field, had two steals and didn’t commit a turnover.

“My teammates were playing great, and then in fourth quarter I felt like it was my moment to be aggressive,” Parker said.

Splitter scored 14 points for the Spurs, Blair had 13 points and 11 boards, Green added 13 and Leonard chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

Aldridge led Portland with 29 points, Raymond Felton had 13, and Wes Matthews and Gerald Wallace each had 12.

The Blazers played most of the game without starting center Marcus Camby, Camby went down with a sprained left ankle with 4:22 to play in the second quarter. After going up for a shot over Blair, Camby immediately went down and grabbed his ankle. Following a timeout, he was helped off the floor and didn’t return.

The Spurs’ bench outscored Portland’s reserves 45-17.

“We did a pretty good job, coming from the bench, all the guys playing hard, hard defense,” Splitter said. “Gary Neal had to play the point guard. We brought the energy and did a good job.”

The Spurs will try to extend their home winning streak to nine, when they face the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at the AT&T Center.

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7 thoughts on “Splitter, Leonard, bench lift Spurs to victory

  1. Robby
    Great response on what Pop would had said to Timmy after the Dunk, my wife heard me laughing late last night, came and read the post and said Oh it’s that Robby guy again, she says HI from Jacksonville, Fl.
    A win is a win. Later on during the season it will prelude to a psychological defeat on Portland. It was a great team effort, who do you guard NOW? I know it’s early in the season but there is something that truely tells me we are there with one more piece. I have readed blog after blog and some have mention a movement I have notice the EXTINCTION of the Big, just like the Dinosaurs gone, unless you are like Dirk 7’0 athletic you will be a PF not a Center. SAS have just been ahead of the curve for the last 5 years by creating the new version of Twin Towers by going with athletic, smart, and blue collar guys on the lineup that are truely PF’s not Centers and thats the reason we are not in a hunt for a Big right now, but if DH12 is available I’ll still take him.

  2. Joe, I’m glad to discuss with fellow Spurs fan like you. I was trying to be funny and happy that it worked for you guys… Say hi for me to your wife too!

    Regarding the Bigs, I still feel that we need to add another 7-footer behind Tim and Tiago unless Malcom Thomas turns out to be an NBA ready guy. And yeah if DH12 is available I’d take him too.

    Thanks for the regular comments and reads.

  3. Glad to hear that Robby. Now I just can’t think of how to go about getting a Big when all the other clubs know now what we got and they need. I don’t want to depart with trades or 1st/2nd rounders, however; business is business. Last year if you remember I was for packaging players now I’am not and I will comment on why: because some teams out there are going to wait till April’s trade deadline and settle for less, or amnesty players that they feel have underachieve this season and are on their last shot with that ball club and it’s time too move on for some. I believe some of those head cases out there would fit just right (no names yet, Hint they are Bigs), but they are unhappy with their present teams and might just come to us at the right price. Boy it’s quiet tonight must be all your bloggers are off tonight doing something or something good is going on back in SA? Have a good night guys and “Go Spurs Go”.

  4. Great game from Splitter! Kawhi Leonard has been a pleasant surprise. I hope they both can be consistent and help the Spurs win more games.

  5. I’m happy that Splitter is finally coming to his own, his inside play will be a huge help for the Spurs in the long haul. Go Spurs Go!

  6. Pingback: Splitter finding his niche « Spurs World

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