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The San Antonio Spurs know what they have to do to win this season Connor Williams Jersey Elite , and they have a slim margin for error.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points to help the Spurs beat Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 116-105 on Saturday night.
”It’s been shown in the last month that when we don’t have the aggression and the determination, we’re not winning,” San Antonio veteran Manu Ginobili said. ”Years before, we had enough talent and corporate knowledge to be able to bounce back. Even if we struggled for 40 minutes, we could execute and figure it out because of the way we knew each other. Now, it’s not the same.”
The Spurs (46-34) snapped a two-game losing streak. They have the same record as New Orleans and Oklahoma City, but are sandwiched between the two in sixth place based on tiebreakers. Utah is one-half game ahead of all three in fourth place.
San Antonio, which has been without injured star Kawhi Leonard for all but nine games this season, can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over visiting Sacramento on Monday.
Portland (48-32) dropped its third consecutive game and missed out on an opportunity to secure home-court advantage in the first round. Lillard had 33 points for the Trail Blazers, and Evan Turner finished with 18.
”We knew that we were going to come across teams that are fighting for their playoff lives,” Lillard said. ”No game is going to be easy.”
Former All-Star teammates Aldridge and Lillard dueled on a night when both teams shot well from the field.
Lillard was 11 for 22, including 6 for 12 from beyond the arc. He returned after missing one game with an injured left ankle.
Aldridge made his first five shots, including a left-handed runner he seemed to throw up to rebound against the smaller double-team on him. He finished 13 for 22.
Ginobili gave San Antonio a needed boost, scoring 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting.
”I was feeling that type of rush and that type of excitement flow http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-denzel-ward-jersey ,” Ginobili said.
The 40-year-old Ginobili had back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a right-handed layup against Al-Farouq Aminu to turn a four-point game into a 101-89 lead.
”That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer, he hasn’t really lost a step,” Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. ”His shot’s still good. He’s still able to get to that left hand, and even tonight he finished two right-hand shots that are pretty high degree of difficulty, one scoop in the lane and another scoop going out of bounds.”
McCollum finished with 17 points for Portland.
Dejounte Murray finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.
Trail Blazers: Turner departed in the final minute with a cut along his right brow caused by an inadvertent blow by Murray on a rebound. . Jusuf Nurkic, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds, received a technical foul with 36.4 seconds left in the first half. Nurkic was yelling at official Curtis Blair for a foul assessed to him on a drive by Murray. … Maurice Harkless missed his seventh straight game with an injured left knee. … Ed Davis missed his fourth straight game due to an injured right ankle.
Spurs: Pau Gasol played in his 1,194th career game, moving past Alex English for 42nd in league history. … Danny Green was assessed his first technical foul of the season with 10:40 remaining in the first half. After missing a layup, Green began jumping and clapping his hands angrily because no foul was called on Meyers Leonard. … The Spurs hold an 84-82 lead against the Trail Blazers in their overall series.
Trail Blazers: Visit Denver on Monday night.
Spurs: Host Sacramento on Monday night.
McCollum said Portland is still in great position.
”We’re good,” McCollum said. ”If you had told me that we have 48 wins and have two games left and a chance to finish in third place, I would have told you I’ll take it. Considering where we’re at, there’s no excuses for injuries and stuff like that, but I feel like we’re heading in the right direction heading to the playoffs. We should be fully healthy or close to fully healthy and I think that will make a difference.”
The Trail Blazers close the season against Denver and Utah.
Ginobili has said he plays best when he can take a nap on game day and he made sure to take one Saturday.
”I even slept nine hours last night Authentic Nyheim Hines Jersey , so I was very juicy,” Ginobili said.
Alex Tuch collected the skittering puck with absolutely nothing between him and the tying goal with two minutes left in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Braden Holtby reacted with pure instinct.
Washington’s goalie stretched back and lunged to his right with his stick, thrusting the paddle into the exact 4-inch slot of air through which Tuch’s shot was headed for the net.
”Luckily it hit me,” Holtby said with a shrug.
The Washington goalie’s coaches and teammates weren’t quite so calm about a save that will go down in Capitals history as the key to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night, evening the series at one game apiece.
The win was the Caps’ first-ever Stanley Cup Final victory – and the save might be a catalyst to even bigger things.
”To me, it was the hockey gods,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”They evened it up from the last game. Great save. You could see the emotion on our bench. Once he made that save, I knew we were going to win the game.”
Holtby made 37 saves, but he got help from earthly sources as well. Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal, his first in a Final, Brooks Orpik ended a personal 220-game goal drought with the eventual winner, and Lars Eller added a goal and two assists.
”We refocus and pick each other up and that’s a sign of a good team,” Holtby said. ”That’s one of our strengths.”
Game 3 is Saturday night in Washington. The Caps are just 4-5 at home in the postseason, but they’ll ride a wave of momentum after going into the Golden Knights’ daunting home arena and taking away home-ice advantage in Washington’s first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.
After getting battered in the Knights’ 6-4 series-opening win Authentic Paul Worrilow Jersey , Holtby made several big saves throughout Game 2, coming up particularly big while Washington killed a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:09 earlier in the third period. He capped his energetic performance with that jaw-dropping stick save on Tuch with 1:59 to play.
”Holts just makes the save of the year,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. ”Maybe the save of a lifetime. It’s unreal.”
The T-Mobile Arena crowd was stunned, but after several months of watching this expansion team push through every obstacle, the Knights couldn’t get around Holtby’s stick.
”Thank God he’s our goalie,” Ovechkin said. ”He’s over there when we need him, and it was probably the save of the year for sure.”
Washington overcame another big blow when it lost leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov to an upper-body injury in the first period after a big hit from Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb, but the Caps avoided any hotheaded retaliation and concentrated on a gritty effort that was enough to even the series.
James Neal and Shea Theodore scored and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots for the upstart Knights, who couldn’t summon their usual clutch magic, even with lengthy man advantages. Thanks to Holtby’s 15 saves, Vegas finally went scoreless in the third for the first time in six periods in this series.
Washington handed the Golden Knights only their second home defeat – the first in regulation – in Vegas’ nine postseason games.
”I think it’s really important that we take a step back and take a deep breath and know that you’re not going to win this series in two games,” Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt said. ”We’re a special group. We can go out and win games on the road. We’ve done it all playoffs.”
So have the Capitals, who improved to 9-3 on the road after two games in this frequently chaotic series.
The Caps have made the playoffs in 13 of 19 seasons since their only other trip to the Final in 1998, but hadn’t managed to get their fans back to the final round until this year. Capital One Arena in downtown Washington was packed with red-clad fans watching Game 2 on the videoboards.
The temperature on the Las Vegas Strip spiked to triple digits in the hours before Game 2 Authentic Kolton Miller Jersey , likely making it the hottest Final game in NHL history. But the heat didn’t fry the spirits of the fans who filled the plaza next to the arena to capacity before the puck dropped, continuing this gambling mecca’s fanatical support of its first major pro sports team.
Shortly after Neal opened the scoring for Vegas in Game 2, Kuznetsov went straight to the dressing room after absorbing a high check from McNabb. The game immediately took on a nastier tone, and the teams played 4-on-4 hockey moments later after a prolonged scrum led to two penalties.
Trotz gave no postgame update on Kuznetsov’s condition.
”(That hit) galvanized us as a group,” Trotz said. ”This group has learned so much. They’ve gotten so resilient. This group has had everything thrown at them, and they just say, `You know what? We’re going to push on.”’
Washington attacked and evened it shortly afterward with a goal from Eller, who had failed to hit an open net on a rushed play for a potential tying goal late in Game 1.
Washington’s excellent power play finally got a chance early in the second period, and Ovechkin scored a vintage goal with his powerful shot from a sharp angle. The Russian superstar led the NHL with 49 goals in the regular season and added 12 more in the Eastern Conference playoffs before scoring the first Stanley Cup Final goal of his 13-year, 1,121-game NHL career.
The Caps then got a thoroughly unlikely contribution from Orpik, whose deflected shot bounced fortuitously off the ice and beat Fleury. The gr.
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