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Lopez breaks hand as Blazers sink Spurs

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Although the Portland Trail Blazers rolled to a 108-95 victory over the lineup-depleted San Antonio Spurs on Monday at the Moda Center, the win came with price.

Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez will be out indefinitely after sustaining two fractures in his right hand.

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said of the loss of Lopez. “Rolo covers up a lot of our mistakes. He’s the most unselfish guy on our team. It’s going to be tough without him. Everybody in the locker room hates to see him not playing because of an injury.”

Lillard and forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points apiece as Portland beat San Antonio, which played without a trio of starters and sixth-man guard Manu Ginobili.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sat Ginobili (hip), guard Tony Parker (hamstring) and center Tiago Splitter (calf) and chose to rest forward Tim Duncan. The Spurs were playing the second of back-to-back games, and they are in the midst of a five-games-in-seven-days stretch.

Lillard grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds to go with six assists. Aldridge grabbed 14 boards for the Trail Blazers, who trailed only once, 18-16 late in the first quarter.

“This wasn’t the game we expected, with their players out,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said, “but we did what we needed to do to win the game. We could have played better, but you want to come away with the win, and we did.”

Forward Kawhi Leonard collected 21 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs (17-8). San Antonio center Aron Baynes and guard Kyle Anderson each added 15 points.

“I don’t know if anybody expected us to blow them out,” Stotts said. “Five, six, seven of their guys were instrumental in the playoffs last year. They’ve won games with those guys before. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Fortunately, we played a relatively consistent game.”

Portland (19-6) had the advantage from 3-point range and at the free-throw line, making seven of 18 attempts from beyond the arc and 19 of 22 at the foul line. San Antonio finished 4-for-11 on 3-point attempts and 15 of 22 on free throws.

Lillard had 12 first-half points and guard Wesley Matthews 10 as the Blazers held a five-point edge at the break.

Aldridge got hot in the third quarter, scoring 14 points to stake Portland to a 76-68 lead heading into the final period.

San Antonio trailed only 94-88 with five minutes left before Portland forward Nicolas Batum drilled a 3-pointer. Spurs guard Cory Joseph scored on a layup with 3:45 to go, but Aldridge’s two free throws and a jumper and three foul shots by forward Thomas Robinson pushed the Blazers in front 104-90, and the issue was decided.

“They’re a very good team,” said San Antonio forward Boris Diaw, who had 10 points, nine assists and four rebounds. “They have been for years. They used to be a young team, but year after year, they’ve gotten better and better. They’ve become a big threat.”

Portland took a 23-20 lead on guard Will Barton’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter.

The Blazers, benefiting from a rash of San Antonio turnovers, extended the margin to 36-26 midway through the second quarter. The Spurs used an 11-2 spurt to draw within 38-37 before Portland settled for a 48-43 halftime advantage.

NOTES: The Blazers beat San Antonio for the 10th time in the past 12 meetings in Portland. … Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge had his 10th game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, third most in the NBA. … G Patty Mills has missed the entire season following July shoulder surgery, but he is on the trip with the Spurs. He is expected to return sometime in January. “We want to start getting him reacquainted with the group,” coach Gregg Popovich said. … Portland finished with 18 assists, ending its 24-game streak of dishing out at least 20 assists. The Blazers were the first team to achieve that number in at least the first 20 games of a season since Utah in 2007-08. “I’m very proud of that,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. … Stotts was asked if the Trail Blazers are trying to emulate the San Antonio model. “Modeling after five-time champions?” Stotts asked, smiling. “Yeah, I’d go for that.”

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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