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(Saturday, November 10th)
Final Score: San Antonio 112, Portland 109
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Manu Ginobili made the go-ahead free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining, as the San Antonio Spurs solved their problems at the Rose Garden by pulling out a 112-109 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
San Antonio trailed by as many as 14 in the third quarter before Gary Neal, playing crunch time minutes with Tony Parker out with the flu, sparked the comeback with 15 fourth-quarter points.
Neal finished with a career-high 27 points, Ginobili had 17 and Tim Duncan chipped in 22 points and nine boards for the Spurs, who snapped a seven-game slide in Portland dating back to the 2007-08 campaign.
Nicolas Batum matched his career high with 33 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge netted 29, but both missed from long range in the closing seconds in Portland's third straight loss.
"They made tough shots tonight," Aldridge said of the Spurs.
The Spurs chipped away at their large deficit in the third quarter and pulled within 79-73 after Ginobili's buzzer-beating jumper.
They began the fourth on a 14-0 flurry, highlighted by Neal's nine points, and scored on their first 10 possessions to go in front, 94-85, following a Danny Green free throw with 7:18 to play.
"When we play small it's less structure in the offense," Neal said. "It's more individual ability."
Portland never regained the lead, but four 3-pointers in a five-possession stretch -- the last made by Batum -- tied the game at 109-109 with 40.5 seconds remaining.
Neal was credited with an offensive rebound on miss by Green, and Ginobili made both free throws after drawing a foul with 12.9 ticks left.
Batum's try from behind the arc bounced off the back rim twice, and Stephen Jackson was fouled going after the rebound. Jackson only made 1-of-2 at the foul line to keep it a one-possession game with 4.4 seconds left, and Aldridge's rushed turnaround try from 34 feet fell just short.
Batum scored 11 points in the first quarter for the Blazers, who were in front, 26-16, before Jackson, Ginobili and Neal each nailed 3-pointers on consecutive possessions. A Ginobili free throw in the final seconds tied things at 26 heading to the second frame.
Portland rookie Damian Lillard netted eight points on a 14-4 run that broke a 28-28 tie early in the second, and the hosts went into the break holding a 52-43 advantage.
The Spurs made up for 21 turnovers by shooting 57 percent from the field ... Lillard totaled 15 of his 20 points in the first half and also handed out a game-high six assists ... San Antonio's reserves outscored Portland's 63-4.
11/11 02:05:54 ET
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