PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs beat the Trail
Blazers in so many ways, Portland coach Maurice Cheeks stopped
"They kicked us from start to finish," Cheeks said. "From
tip-off until the end of the game."
San Antonio has won four straight and seven of its last eight,
but this victory stood out.
"It was one of our best games all year," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said. "We're not this good though and Portland is not
that bad. That's just what happens when someone is playing very
good and somebody is not playing well."
Parker, coming off a season-high 29 points against Phoenix,
scored 15 in the first half. Portland's guards struggled to keep up
with Parker, especially 33-year-old Van Exel, who has bad knees and
has said he intends to retire at the end of the season.
Parker came into the game averaging 22.8 points on 59 percent
shooting in his last five contests, helping San Antonio (24-6) move
closer to league-leading Phoenix (25-4).
San Antonio had six players in double figures, including rookie
Beno Udrih, who had 12 points and 10 assists. The Spurs had more
assists (34) than the Blazers had field goals (30).
"We're a very unselfish team," Parker said. "We always try to
find the guy who is wide open. That's how we play."
The Blazers had no answer for Duncan inside, especially after
center Theo Ratliff left the game with a sore shoulder. Portland
was outrebounded 49-39 and outscored 62-42 in the paint.
Portland made only one of its first nine shots while Parker
scored nine early points to help San Antonio open up a 17-2 lead.
Portland rallied, scoring 12 unanswered points late in the first
quarter, but Parker got the Spurs running again and pushed the lead
to 40-25 midway through the second. San Antonio made 14 of 21 shots
in the second quarter and led 57-36 by halftime.
"From one to 12, whoever stepped onto the floor didn't have
anything tonight," Cheeks said. "There's no explaining the effort
Abdur-Rahim returned to the Blazers after sitting out six games
with an elbow injury, playing 31 minutes with Randolph on the bench
for long stretches.
Notes:@ Portland's previous worst loss was a 112-88 defeat
against Cleveland on Dec. 15. ... The Spurs swept the four-game
series from Portland last season.