National Basketball Association
San Antonio at Portland
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, December 23, 2016
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The Portland Trail Blazers reached the Western Conference semifinals last season and have yet to show they are a lock for a return to the playoffs in 2016-17. The Trail Blazers are in a battle for eighth place in the West with several sub .500 teams after dropping four straight and eight of nine as they prepare to host the red-hot San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters his team did not “have enough passion and heart” while falling behind 62-38 at halftime to Dallas on Wednesday before making a furious rally and losing 96-95. “At this point, we can sit here and talk about things that we have to get better at,” Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe told reporters. “But it’s getting old. … We just have to stop talking about it and just do it.” The Spurs saw their five-game winning streak come to an end and lost for just the second time in 17 road games Thursday in a 106-101 setback against the Los Angeles Clippers. Leading scorer Kawhi Leonard recorded 27 points for San Antonio, which lost only its second game in 11 contests.TV:
10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (San Antonio), CSN Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE SPURS (23-6):
San Antonio shot just 40.2 percent from the field in the loss to the Clippers, missed 13 of its 19 attempts from 3-point range and was outscored 58-31 off the bench. Center Pau Gasol came up with his first 20-point game in more than a month, totaling 21 Thursday while LaMarcus Aldridge, who faces his former team Friday, was held to 10 points. Tony Parker hopes to rebound from a two-point performance and won’t get any help from fellow veteran guard Manu Ginobili (rest), who did not make the trip.ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (13-18):
Portland allowed an average of 131 points in the first three games of its losing streak before scoring 95 against Dallas — more than 14 below their season mark. Lillard had 20 of his 29 points in the third quarter Wednesday and averages a team-high 27.4 points to go along with six assists while backcourt partner C.J. McCollum pours in 22.2 per contest. Center Mason Plumlee scored 27 points in a 126-121 loss to Sacramento on Tuesday and has drained 14-of-17 shots from the field over the last two contests.BUZZER BEATERS
1. San Antonio G Danny Green has drained 12-of-22 from 3-point range in the last five games.
2. Portland G Evan Turner, averaging 9.2 points, is expected to miss his third consecutive contest with an ankle injury.
3. The Spurs have won four of the last five meetings, including all three last season.PREDICTION:
Spurs 110, Trail Blazers 102
Stats and Records