Spurs' 16-0 run -- without Duncan -- buries cold Blazers
Posted: Saturday June 05, 1999 02:10 AM
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs have never been to the NBA Finals. It will take a Portland miracle to keep them out now.
Even with Tim Duncan on the bench in foul trouble, San Antonio steamrolled the Trail Blazers with a 16-0 third-quarter run Friday night on the way to an 85-63 rout that puts the Spurs one win from a sweep in the Western Conference finals.
"This is the closest I've ever been," David Robinson said, "and it feels good."
The Spurs can complete the sweep with a victory in Portland Sunday.
"Well, 3-0 is better than 2-0, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it still doesn't put us anywhere," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
No team has come back from 3-0 to win an NBA playoff series, and the Blazers sounded beaten after the game.
"San Antonio is a team right now that wants it," Isaiah Rider said. "At this point, they have the will to win."
Portland's 63 points was its fewest ever in the playoffs, and only nine more than Utah's record low against Chicago in the finals last year. It was the fewest points ever allowed by the Spurs in the postseason.
"I honestly want to apologize to our fans," Portland's Greg Anthony said, "because that was just one of the worst displays I've seen from a basketball standpoint."
Duncan managed just five points, but it could not have mattered less, not the way the rest of the Spurs played and the way Portland's offense vanished in a nightmare second half.
"It was our offense, or inability to make shots and to force them to have to come double-team us or to have to switch on some double coverages," Portland coach Mike Dunleavy said, "I think at times we has some pretty good looks.
"We hit a slump. We didn't make shots."
David Robinson had 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and seven blocked shots as San Antonio won its ninth consecutive playoff game and improved to 5-0 on the road in the postseason.
"David dominated the third quarter in my opinion," Avery Johnson said. "He looked like he was eight feet tall in there."
Jaren Jackson came off the bench to tie a San Antonio record with six 3-pointers, scoring 19 points, and Johnson had 14 points and eight assists.
The Blazers shot 25 percent (19-for-77) from the field and were 8-for-40 in the second half while being outscored 43-25. The 19 baskets was an NBA playoff low.
"It is huge for us to win without much from me," Duncan said. "JJ shot the ball great and really got us on a roll. Somebody different is stepping up for us every game. People just keep getting it done."
Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points but got no help as the Blazers lost at home for only the fourth time this season. Two of those losses were to the Spurs. San Antonio has beaten Portland six in a row, all close until this one.
San Antonio outscored Portland 24-8 in the third quarter. It was the second horror quarter for the Blazers of the playoffs. They set an NBA record with five points in the fourth quarter of the first game of the conference semifinal series against Utah.
This one, though, hurt much worse.
Arvydas Sabonis had cut the Spurs' lead 48-46 with a sweeping hook shot with 6:42 to go in the third quarter when an ugly night turned unbearable for Portland. The Blazers didn't score again in the period.
Johnson's 16-footer started the decisive outburst, Jackson's fourth 3-pointer highlighted it, and Johnson's 20-footer finished it.
Portland scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 64-50, but Wallace was called for a technical, Jackson made the free throw, Johnson scored on a driving bank shot and Jackson made his fifth 3-pointer to give San Antonio a 70-50 lead with 10:09 to play.
After a miserable first half that featured 28 personal fouls, 19 turnovers and enough bricks to pave the Willamette River, San Antonio led 40-38. The Blazers shot just under 30 percent in the first two quarters (11-for-37) and no one was thinking it could get worse. But it did.
Robinson, Duncan and Sean Elliott -- San Antonio's starting front line -- all were on the bench with two fouls apiece with 3:37 left in the first quarter. Still, Portland managed only a 26-22 lead, thanks to Anthony's 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer, a basket the Spurs argued shouldn't have counted because the clock started late on the inbounds pass.
The Blazers were 3-for-17 in the third quarter. They tied the game twice early in the third quarter, 40-40 on Wallace's two free throws after Duncan drew his fourth foul 40 seconds into the period and 42-42 on Sabonis' inside basket with 10:30 left in the period.
San Antonio led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter.
Notes: As the shot clock wound down on Portland's first possession, Wallace chased down a loose ball and flung it at the basket from 21 feet, and it swished through. ... The Blazers were 15-for-17 from the foul line in the first quarter and didn't shoot a free throw in the second. ... Take away Wallace, and the rest of the Blazers were 6-for-30 in the first half. ... Spurs reserves, who scored just 15 points in the first two games, had 18 in the first half. ... Damon Stoudamire, who complained about his playing time in the fourth quarter earlier in the week, was 1-for-12 from the field and was booed by the fans in the city where he grew up. ... Wallace stormed off the court and into the locker room after fouling out late in the game.
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