SHABAZZ Napier busted out for a career-high 32 points and Noah Vonleh delivered the game-winning buzzer-beater as the Portland Trailblazers overcame the absence of stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to survive a wild finish against the San Antonio Spurs, 99-98, at the Moda Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time)
With the Spurs stars on the bench after playing only three quarters, Portland still faced a 7-point deficit with over eight minutes left. But Napier started taking over with 12 of the Blazers points to regain the lead, 88-87, at the 2:34 mark.
But the San Antonio reserves, led by Jonathon Simmons, refused to quit, going on a 9-3 run to take back the lead, 96-91, with 1:24 to play. Pat Connaughton hit a triple and Vonleh tipped in a Napier miss to get the Blazers within one, before Kyle Anderson sank two free throws to keep the Spurs ahead, 98-95, with only 18 ticks to go.
Jake Layman drove hard for the slam to get the Blazers within one, and an error by Anderson on an inbounds play set up the game-winning layup by Vonleh to beat the buzzer and extend Portland’s win run to three.
Evan Turner added 16 for the Blazers and Connaughton fired 15. Meyers Leonard chipped in 13, going a perfect 3-of-3 from deep, while Vonleh had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard had 18 points in three quarters for the Spurs (62-20), who lost their second straight game. Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12 apiece.