Portland faced the San Antonio Spurs, playing without resting stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, and led by as many as 48 points on the way to a 137-97 victory.
”It still counts, right?” said LaMarcus Aldridge, among six Blazers who had with 16 points or more.
Jamal Crawford scored 20 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, and had eight assists. Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum each had 19 points before Portland sat its starters for most of the fourth quarter.
Kawhi Leonard had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Spurs, who saw the end to 11-game overall winning streak and an eight-game streak on the road.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that he was resting Parker and Duncan because the Spurs were playing three games in four nights. Parker, who had not missed a game this season, is averaging 19.5 points per game, while Duncan’s averaging 19.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.
San Antonio was also without guard Manu Ginobili for the second straight game because of a strained left oblique. Ginobili is expected to miss two weeks. Brazilian forward Tiago Splitter was also out for a second straight game with a right calf strain.
”It would be great if I would still be able to play Manu and Tiago tonight and still rest Tony and Tim, but that’s not the case,” Popovich said. ”Those guys are out, but I can’t run our guys into the ground when it’s time for them to rest based on the schedule and the time they’ve been playing.
”That’s what’s going to happen if you want to put some money in the bank for later.”
The Spurs are on their annual rodeo road trip which keeps them away from home for an extended period while the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. The team was coming off a 106-102 victory at Utah on Monday night. They travel to Denver on Thursday for their final game before the All-Star break.
In addition to Leonard, San Antonio also started rookie guard Corey Joseph, who had five points. Danny Green finished with 16 points.
The Spurs had not lost by 40 or more points since March 5, 1997, when they fell 111-69 at Chicago.
The Blazers were also playing the second of a back-to-back, after a tough 103-92 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. In the loss, the Blazers had just seven points in the first quarter. Against the Spurs, they had 41.
”We needed to get back on track, we needed to bounce back from that loss that we had and we did it tonight,” Aldridge said.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan warned his team not to get too caught up in who wasn’t on the floor for the Spurs.
”Sometimes it can be a letdown. For our guys, as I told them, it’s not about the team or who is out, we need to play the game,” he said. ”I thought they did. They went out, stayed focused, and played the game the right way.”
McMillan tinkered with his starting lineup, starting Crawford at the point rather than Raymond Felton. Crawford started a game for the Blazers earlier this season but is normally a reserve. He won the NBA’s Sixth Man award for the 2009-10 season while with Atlanta.
Felton has struggled this season, and had just nine points against the Lakers. He finished with 16 against the Spurs.
Coming off the bench, Felton hit two straight 3-pointers that put the Blazers up 35-20. He added another one to put Portland up 41-23 at the end of the first quarter. It was the most points the Blazers scored in a quarter all season.
Aldridge hit a layup that made it 53-32, and Crawford sank a 3-pointer that sent Portland to the break with a 66-43 lead.
Batum’s 3-pointer made it 88-55 and it was never a contest. Luke Babbitt made a 3-pointer that gave the Blazers a 120-75 lead with 7:11 left, but many fans had departed long before then.
Wesley Matthews, who finished with 11 points, left the game early in the fourth quarter with a mild left ankle sprain.
”One loss isn’t going to do anything to us so we’re just going to keep moving on,” Leonard said.
NOTES: Aldridge has a cameo in this week’s episode of ”Portlandia,” the IFC channel’s comedy about life in the Rose City. Aldridge appears with director Penny Marshall. … Portland gets an extended rest over the All-Star break and doesn’t play again until Feb. 29, when the team visits Denver. … The last time the Blazers had six players with at least 16 points was Dec. 20, 1992 against Golden State at the Memorial Coliseum.