Spurs win eighth straight as Blazers lose McCollum to injury

By RAUL DOMINGUEZ – Associated Press – Saturday, March 16, 2019

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The Portland can accept losing a tough game on the road to the . They are hoping they did not suffer a greater loss to injury.

scored 21 points and the extended their winning streak to eight games with a 108-103 victory Saturday night over the , who lost C.J. McCollum to a left leg injury.

scored 34 points for , which had won three straight but had difficulty closing the game without McCollum.

“He’s so big for our team,” said, after first stating he was worried for McCollum’s health. “You’re just concerned for that, too. That’s a big blow. He’s a guy that plays a huge role for us and is a big part of our team.”

McCollum exited under assistance with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter. He remained on the court for a few minutes clutching his left leg in great pain after tumbling out of bounds when his driving left-handed layup was blocked by Jakob Poeltl. McCollum had his left foot trapped under Poeltl’s right foot as both landed, leading the guard to tumble out of bounds next to the stanchion.

“I feel bad for C.J. I hope he’s OK,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a great player and a great kid.”

The said McCollum had a “left leg injury” after X-rays were negative. He will undergo an MRI on Sunday morning. McCollum said he did not hear his knee pop but felt immediate pain and discomfort in it.

“I don’t know the extent of it,” McCollum said. “I don’t know if it’s lateral . I don’t know. I just know that it’s not normal.”

McCollum finished with 10 points in 22 minutes.

Poeltl’s block was one of a season-high 11 for the .

(41-29) is sixth in the Western Conference, one game behind Oklahoma City for fifth. The , who host Golden State on Monday, have won 10 straight at home.

(42-27) is fourth in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of the Thunder.

There were 14 lead changes and 12 ties in a contest as evenly matched as the standings.

“That was actually a lot of fun,” guard Bryn Forbes said. “Just to be in a game with such a talented basketball team as the , it’s always going to be fun down the wire because both teams are giving it their best and they are very talented.”

Forbes had nine points in the fourth quarter and made two of the ‘ four 3-pointers in the period. Davis Bertans also made three free throws to put up 98-92 with 3:06 remaining after being fouled by Al-Farouq Aminu on a 26-footer.

Forbes finished with 11 points.

“I think we worked hard for 48 minutes,” Popovich said. “We were up, we were down but they just kept playing.”

Derrick White and Rudy Gay finished with 13 points apiece. Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 12.

Both teams were on the second night of a back-to-back, but the were in New Orleans while the played at home. Despite the travel, came out as the fresher team.

drew consecutive fouls on White, forcing the to sit their point guard once he picked up his third foul with 4:43 remaining in the first half. The first foul came when fell in front of the bench with little to no by White, leading Popovich to berate official Jason Goldenberg for the remainder of the first half and before entering the locker room. The were leading 40-39 when White exited and the then moved into the lead.

, who moved past Aldridge on the ‘ scoring list on Friday night, finished 13 for 29 from the field and added six rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic added 24 points and Rodney Hood had 13 for .

TIP-INS

: is 17-18 on the road this season after going 21-20 last season. … Enes Kanter was scoreless and had four rebounds and an assist in 14 minutes. Kanter was averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his previous three games.

: Aldridge has 18,331 points, moving past Hall of Famer Dave Bing for 70th in career scoring. Bing had 18,328 points in 12 seasons, including his first nine with Detroit. … Forbes has 250 career 3-pointers, joining Gary Neal and Bertans as the only players in history to accomplish that feat in their first three seasons with the team. . has 17 home winning streaks of 10-plus games under Popovich.

NICE REWARD

The have won 10 straight and 17 of 19 at home but will face a stern test Monday when they host the Golden State.

The Warriors, who own the best record in the West, are 23-11 on the road and have won two straight.

“Monday night is going to be another great test for us,” said. “We’re going to step up to the challenge and it should be fun.”

UP NEXT

: Host Indiana on Monday night.

: Host Golden State on Monday night.

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