NEW YORK: The San Antonio Spurs continued their return to top form with a 116-92 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday in Game One of their Western Conference semi-final.
Tony Parker blazed the trail with 33 points and nine assists to give San Antonio the 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
It was the second consecutive blowout win for the number one seed Spurs, who blasted Dallas by 23 points earlier in the deciding seventh game of their surprisingly tough first-round series.
Parker set the tone against Portland with his aggressive play, insisting he was not motivated by his premier point guard matchup against young Blazer Damian Lillard who had 17 points.
“Lillard is a top guard in the NBA. I just try to be (San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich’s) favorite point guard,” Parker told reporters. “I’m always going to try to do my job and be aggressive.”
The Trail Blazers entered the night riding high, having eliminated Houston 4-2 in their opening matchup to reach the second round for the first time in 14 years. But the home Spurs pounded Portland in the first half to take a 65-39 lead into the halftime and the Blazers could not recover.
LaMarcus Aldridge sustained his great play during the post-season with 32 points and 14 rebounds, but it was far from enough for the Blazers.
“Most of our guys haven’t been (this far into the play-offs) so this lets us know how it’s going to be,” Aldridge said.
“It’s a learning process, the intensity that championship teams.” REUTERS