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Wesley Matthews and Blazers Bounce Back vs. Spurs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

 

BLAZERS 111, SPURS 95

The Spurs were coming back. Again.

After erasing a 19-point-deficit in the first half, the Spurs cut a 10 point lead to four in the opening minute of the final period.

Tension was rising, as was the memory of Portland's recent fourth quarter collapse against the Grizzlies.

Cue Wesley Matthews.

After missing his first six three-point attempts of the game, Matthews stepped up and drilled one. After an Arron Afflalo bucket, Matthews drained another.

Suddenly Portland's lead was back to double-digits, the Spurs comeback snuffed. The Blazers rolled the rest of the way, besting the Spurs 111-95.

Matthew's hot hand continued. He hit two more three's in the quarter, and added a pair of important steals. He finished with a season-high 31 points.

As much as Matthews, who had missed 13-straight three-point attempts over the last two games, bounced back, so too did the Blazers, after suffering a pair of embarrassing losses. 

And while Portland's win over the defending NBA Champs should be acknowledged and applauded, it must also be noted that the Spurs are in the midst of a slide.  Wednesday's loss was San Antonio's fourth in a row, which tied a season-worst.

A truer test of Portland's form and resolve comes Friday, as the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder come to town.

C

LaMarcus Aldridge
After missing Sunday's game with a sprained thumb, Aldridge returned to the Blazers' starting lineup, though he seemed to have forgotten to bring his touch. Aldridge made just 5-of-19 attempts from the field, finishing with just 11 points. He made up for it by pounding the glass, where he grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

A-

Nicolas Batum
For the first time this season, Nicolas Batum scored 15-or-more points in consecutive games. He came out of the gates especially hot, making his first five attempts. Batum made 3-of-5 from deep, and 6-of-8 overall, to go with four boards and nine assists. The only thing lacking from his game was control--Batum was responsible for five Blazers turnovers.

B-

Robin Lopez
Lopez's impact was limited, Wednesday, as the Spurs often went small. In 26 minutes Lopez added six points, five rebounds.

A

Wesley Matthews
What began poorly turned into one of Matthews' best outings of the season. His 31 points were a season-high, and his defense was critical. He also added five boards, three assists and three steals. Indeed, after a terrible performance on Sunday where Matthews missed each of his seven attempts from the field, it's safe to put to rest the idea that he's pressing now that Arron Afflalo's behind him.

B+

Damian Lillard
Lillard was efficient, Wednesday, more so than he's been in recent memory. He took only four three-point attempts and made three of them. (It was just the five time all season he's taken four-or-fewer attempts from behind the arc.) All in all, it was a well-rounded effort. He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

B+

Chris Kaman
Kaman had 11 points and six rebounds. Three of those rebounds came on the offensive glass, and two of those came at important junctures in the final period. Indeed, the extra rest from All-Star break has served Kaman well. Still, the question remains: can he keep it going down the stretch?

B

Arron Afflalo
It's clear that Afflalo is still feeling out his teammates, and vice versa. It's also clear that he's going to be a significant boost to the Blazers' bench, bringing confidence and zooming energy. In 25 minutes he hit half his shots, including two three's, to finish with 10 points.
 

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