Thursday, February 22, 2024

NBA Preview: Portland Trail Blazers (3-31) at San Antonio Spurs (8-36)

The Portland Trail Blazers will look to complete the Lone Star State double when they travel to San Antonio to battle the Spurs on Friday in a game between the bottom two teams in the Western Conference.

Portland is five games ahead of the Spurs, who reside in the West cellar with just eight wins this season.

The Trail Blazers head to the Alamo City after a 137-131 overtime win in Houston on Wednesday in the second game of a road back-to-back that began with a two-point loss in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Anfernee Simons led Portland with 33 points, with 16 of his points coming in the pivotal third quarter. Jerami Grant poured in 21 points, including a banked 3-pointer at the horn to send the game into the extra period.

Malcolm Brogdon added 19 points and Deandre Ayton hit for 18 points and took 17 rebounds.

Ayton had six offensive rebounds including one he converted into a putback basket with 10.9 seconds to play in overtime that pushed Portland’s lead to six points.

Friday’s contest is the second of a seven-game homestand for the Spurs that began with a 140-114 shellacking at the hands of Oklahoma City on Wednesday. San Antonio trailed 63-52 at the break but was outscored by 13 points in the third quarter, making the fourth quarter just mop-up time.

Victor Wembanyama led the Spurs with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Vassell added 21, Blake Wesley scored 12, Malaki Branham had 11 and Zach Collins hit for 10 points in the loss, the second straight setback for San Antonio.

Wesley, a second-year player from Notre Dame, started at the point with Tre Jones out with an ankle injury. Jones is listed as questionable for Friday’s game, which is the first of a back-to-back for the Spurs.

Malcolm Brogdon (knee) is questionable for the Trail Blazers.

The teams played on consecutive nights Dec. 28-29 in Portland, with Spurs winning the first game, 118-105, and the Trail Blazers bouncing back with a 134-128 victory the following evening.

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