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Spurs maintain 10th place in West with big win over Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers guard Keon Johnson (6) drives to the hoop against San Antonio Spurs...
Portland Trail Blazers guard Keon Johnson (6) drives to the hoop against San Antonio Spurs forward Zach Collins (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 1, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner)(Nick Wagner | AP)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 8:18 PM PDT
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Devin Vassell had 22 points, Keldon Johnson added 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs maintained their hold on 10th place in the Western Conference by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 130-111 on Friday night.

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio’s All-Star point guard, was a late scratch due to a non-COVID-19 upper respiratory illness.

The Spurs had eight players score in double figures, including Zach Collins with 15 points and career-high five assists against his former team.

Portland, which lost its sixth straight, was led by 20 points from Keon Johnson. Brandon Williams had 17 points for Portland.

The Blazers opened the game with a 10-2 run before the Spurs settled in, going on a 24-8 run fueled by 14 points in the paint.

The Spurs extended their lead to 28 points in the second quarter while making five 3-pointers, including consecutive 3s by Johnson.

After missing his first 3-pointer of the second quarter, Johnson ran down the ensuing loose ball and fired a pass to Jakob Poeltl in the lane for an uncontested dunk. The play resulted in the Trail Blazers taking a timeout, allowing Johnson to scream and stomp his way to the bench with the Spurs leading 47-31 with 9:34 remaining in the first half.

San Antonio finished 16 for 37 on 3-pointers.

The Trail Blazers outscored the Spurs 32-24 in the third quarter, but San Antonio maintained a double-digit advantage throughout.

The Spurs have flip-flopped with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 10th and 11th spots this week. San Antonio will maintain the final spot of the play-in tournament (based on a better conference record) regardless of how Los Angeles fares against ninth-seeded New Orleans on Friday night.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who is out for the season after undergoing abdominal surgery, joined his teammates on the road trip to San Antonio. Lillard sat on the bench between the Blazers’ coaching staff and injured Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. … Trail Blazers C Drew Eubanks was honored prior to tipoff with a video highlighting his four seasons with the Spurs. He bowed his head and clapped in appreciation as the fans gave him a long and loud ovation. Eubanks was then promptly greeted by Poeltl, who blocked his first attempt seconds into the game.

Spurs: San Antonio has five games remaining, including two at home, as they battle for a berth in the play-in tournament. After hosting Portland on Sunday, the Spurs face playoff-bound Denver, Minnesota, Golden State and Dallas. … The Spurs are 14-1 when holding a 20-point lead this season. … Collins was a rebound shy of his first career double-double.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers and Spurs close out a two-game set Sunday in San Antonio.