The Portland Trail Blazers without Brandon Roy or Marcus Camby aren't supposed to beat a team as wonderful as the San Antonio Spurs -- heck, nobody's supposed to beat the San Antonio Spurs. But LaMarcus Aldridge racked up 40 points as the Blazers stunned the league-best Spurs in Portland 99-86.
The game was tight throughout -- neither team led by more than nine heading into tied fourth quarter. On the one hand, entering the fourth tied with the Spurs gives you a puncher's chance at scoring a win. On the other hand, the Spurs have consistently won close games all season, which couldn't have made the Blazers confident.
But Aldridge couldn't miss in the final period, scoring 13 points on 5-5 shooting. Co-star Wesley Matthews scored 11 more (4-7), and Manu Ginobili shot just 1-5. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan entered the game five minutes into the quarter, and the Blazers almost immediately pulled away en route to a double-digit win.
The Spurs are now 40-8, one game in their annual Rodeo Trip. The end of the workweek features a back-to-back against the Lakers and Kings, followed by a jaunt back to the Great Lakes region for games against the Pistons and Raptors. On paper, it's not a tough schedule beyond the Lakers. But anything can happen in the NBA. Perhaps most worrisome to the Spurs is that Portland has a strong shot to be San Antonio's first-round match-up this spring. S.A. didn't show an ability to stop Aldridge on Tuesday night, and one player can absolutely change a series in April and May.