Sports Out West

Damian Lillard leads Blazers’ youth movement in win over Spurs

Photo Credit: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs visited Moda Center on the second night of a back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers and looked their age as they fell, 115-105. 

The story was in the way they won.

The Spurs dominated in the paint by outscoring the Blazers by a margin of 52-34 inside shot over 50 percent from the field, including 6-of-12 from the 3-point line. With those numbers, it’s hard to imagine a double-digit loss, especially at the hands of the Blazers, but Portland used its greatest asset to perfection against the aging Spurs — their collective youth. 

Case in point? They used dribble penetration to create opportunities for themselves at the free throw line, then they knocked them down, making 17-of-19 from the charity stripe. They also outshot the Spurs, going a blazing 56 percent from the field. That impressive number came from the benefit of high-percentage looks and their best players performing at a high level.  

Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 49 points, while Nicolas Batum recorded his third career triple double of 11 points and 12 rebounds and 11 assists. With their own version of the big three at their best, the Blazers are hard to stop. The challenge moving forward will be to see that type of performance consistently. 

About Batum’s triple-double, which is the third of his career — he hit a 3-pointer as time expired to get point total to reach 11. Apparently, head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t have any issue with it.  

 The bottom line is the Blazers are young, fun to watch and can play with anyone. How consistent they will be is the biggest question mark. For now, it looks as if they have made strides in the right direction. 

Photo Credit: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.