Spurs win eighth straight as Blazers lose McCollum to injury

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers can accept losing a tough game on the road to the San Antonio Spurs. They are hoping they did not suffer a greater loss to injury.

DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and the Spurs extended their winning streak to eight games with a 108-103 victory on Saturday night over the Trail Blazers, who lost C J McCollum to a left leg injury.

Damian Lillard scored 34 points for Portland, which had won three straight but had difficulty closing the game without McCollum.

“He’s so big for our team,” Lillard said, after first stating he was worried for McCollum’s health.

“You’re just concerned for that, too. That’s a big blow. He’s a guy that plays a huge role for us and is a big part of our team.”

McCollum exited under assistance with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter. He remained on the court for a few minutes clutching his left leg in great pain after tumbling out of bounds when his driving left-handed layup was blocked by Jakob Poeltl. McCollum had his left foot trapped under Poeltl’s right foot as both landed, leading the Blazers guard to tumble out of bounds next to the stanchion.

“I feel bad for CJ. I hope he’s okay,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a great player and a great kid.”

The Blazers said McCollum had a “left leg injury” after X-rays were negative.. McCollum said he did not hear his knee pop but felt immediate pain and discomfort in it.

“I don’t know the extent of it,” McCollum said. “I don’t know if it’s lateral. I don’t know. I just know that it’s not normal.”

McCollum finished with 10 points in 22 minutes.

Poeltl’s block was one of a season-high 11 for the Spurs.

San Antonio (41-29) is sixth in the Western Conference, one game behind Oklahoma City for fifth. The Spurs, who host Golden State tonight, have won 10 straight at home.

Portland (42-27) is fourth in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of the Thunder.

There were 14 lead changes and 12 ties in a contest as evenly matched as the standings.

“That was actually a lot of fun,” Spurs guard Bryn Forbes said. “Just to be in a game with such a talented basketball team as the Trail Blazers, it’s always going to be fun down the wire because both teams are giving it their best and they are very talented.”

Forbes had nine points in the fourth quarter and made two of the Spurs’ four three-pointers in the period. Davis Bertans also made three free throws to put San Antonio up 98-92 with 3:06 remaining after being fouled by Al-Farouq Aminu on a 26-footer.

Forbes finished with 11 points.

“I think we worked hard for 48 minutes,” Popovich said. “We were up, we were down but they just kept playing.”