By ANNE M. PETERSON – AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Dejounte Murray had 28 points before sitting out for the final quarter and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Portland Trail Blazers 133-96 on Wednesday night.
Keldon Johnson added 26 points for the Spurs, who are still in the hunt for a Western Conference spot with three wins in their last five games.
The Spurs are 11th in the West, 1 1/2 games behind New Orleans for the final play-in position. They finished with 19 3-pointers, tying their season high and just shy of the franchise record.
“We didn’t want to let them linger, so we took that and ran with it.” said Devin Vassell, who finished with 16 points for San Antonio. “If you let a team like that start to come back and feel good, it’s a dogfight.”
Ben McLemore had 23 points off the bench for the Trail Blazers. Portland has lost 10 of its last 13 games, but was coming off a win Monday night at Detroit.
Former Spur Drew Eubanks finished with a career-high 20 points against his former team.
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The Blazers are 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio and in the midst of rebuilding. Of the team’s starters at the start of the season, two are injured (Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic) and three – including Lillard’s longtime backcourt partner CJ McCollum – were traded before the February deadline. . Lillard’s replacement Anfernee Simons is also nursing an injury.
San Antonio led 81-53 at the break. It was the most points in the first half for the team this season. Spurs made 13 3-pointers in halftime, a new franchise record.
Murray was 7 of 7 from the floor and led all scorers with 20 points in the first half. He finished with seven of Spurs’ 34 assists. Jakob Poeltl had a career-high six blocks.
“I don’t think we prepared for the battle that was coming,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “Our guys looked tired, man. To be honest with you, they looked really tired.
San Antonio was without Lonnie Walker IV for the second straight game due to back spasms. The Spurs were coming off a 110-108 victory on Sunday over Golden State, which was playing without injured star Stephen Curry.
Spurs: Popovich has been full of praise for Eubanks, who started his career with Spurs but has played for the Blazers on a 10-day contract streak since early February. “He has done a lot of work over the past few years and to see him take this opportunity is fantastic. He’s a great teammate. Nobody works harder,” Popovich said.
Trail Blazers: Justise Winslow left the game after just seven minutes with a left calf tightness. … Portland dropped the first of the four-game series with the Spurs in early December. The teams play twice more, on April 1 and 3 in San Antonio. … It was the first of a five-game home series.
Spurs: at San Antonio on Saturday.
Trail Blazers: Hosts Houston Friday and Saturday.
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