Blazers pip Spurs with late floater

CJ McCollum converted the winning basket and recorded 25 points and seven assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers pip San Antonio Spurs 111-110 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Maurice Harkless added 19 points for Portland, which played without All-Star guard Damian Lillard due to calf and hamstring injuries.

Jusuf Nurkic contributed 17 points and 13 rebounds and Shabazz Napier added 15 points and seven assists.

San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 14 rebounds against his former club and Manu Ginobili was six of nine from three-point range while scoring a season-best 26 points.

Pau Gasol added 16 points and nine assists for Spurs, who were without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard because of a shoulder injury.

Aldridge badly missed an 18-footer just before the buzzer.

Kyle Anderson made two free-throws with 13.4 seconds left to give Spurs a one-point edge.

After a timeout, McCollum drove the lane and had his running shot bounce on the rim before dropping in to provide Portland with a 111-110 lead with 5.9 seconds to go.

"Once I got six feet away in the lane, I knew I had a floater," McCollum said in a post-game interview on NBA TV.

"It is a shot I'm comfortable with so I could live with it, make or miss."

San Antonio made a late charge after Harkless drained a three-pointer to give Portland a 101-94 lead with 5:37 left.

Spurs responded with an 11-2 burst as Ginobili made two three-pointers and Davis Bertans added one for a 105-103 edge with 2:48 to play.

San Antonio led 69-57 after Aldridge's basket with 6:14 left in the third quarter.

The Trail Blazers put together a 14-3 surge later in the quarter and took an 80-77 lead on Napier's three-pointer before Bertans answered with a three-pointer of his own to tie it at 80 entering the final stanza.

Leonard suffered a partial tear in his left shoulder in last Friday's victory over the Phoenix Suns and coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that there isn't a timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, Lillard said before the game that team trainers "told me it would be smarter to take it easy" and advised him to sit out the contest.

Portland were just one-of-10 from three-point range in the first half and trailed 53-48 at the break. Aldridge had 15 points for the Spurs. - REUTERS


Miami 103 Utah 102, Dallas 96 NY Knicks 100, Phoenix 114 Oklahoma City 100, LA Lakers 132 Atlanta 113