Lillard has 29 and Portland beats San Antonio 121-108
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By ANNE M. PETERSON
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) After making a 33-footer, Damian Lillard was asked if there's a limit on where he'll attempt at 3-pointer.
"I mean, I probably wouldn't stop at half court and just shoot it," he said. "But once I get past half-court, especially at the end of the shot clock like it was, I'll shoot it from anywhere."
Lillard's first basket was that long 3-pointer and he went on to finish with 29 points and nine assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers downed the San Antonio Spurs 121-108 on Saturday night.
CJ McCollum added 24 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 12 for the Blazers, who have opened the season with a pair of home wins. They led the Spurs by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter after a close first half.
DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and nine rebounds in a second strong performance after coming to the Spurs in an offseason trade. He had 28 points in his San Antonio debut Wednesday in a 112-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
DeRozan was traded from Toronto in July along with Jakob Poeltl in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. DeRozan wasn't happy about the deal, especially in light of his close friendship with Toronto teammate Kyle Lowry, but he appears to have developed a nice chemistry with his new team.
His arrival also signaled the end of the Big Three era in San Antonio. Tony Parker left the Spurs to sign with Charlotte in the offseason and Manu Ginobili joined Tim Duncan in retirement.
"It's coming along well but I've still got a lot of growth I will make," he said. "We're all a new group so we're all trying to figure it out and get better every single day. We're going to be all right."
The Blazers opened the season with a 128-119 victory over the Lakers, spoiling LeBron James' debut with the team. Lillard had 28 points and Nik Stauskas came off the bench to score 24 for Portland, which won its 18th straight home opener to extend an NBA record.
"I have a lot of respect for the Spurs obviously, but the game didn't have quite the feel of the Laker game," coach Terry Stotts said. "It was still an important win for us."
Portland's season has started on a somber note following the death of owner Paul Allen. The enigmatic co-founder of Microsoft died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.
Lillard's first basket was that 3-pointer from well beyond the arc.
Portland extended its lead to 47-38 on Al-Farouq Aminu's 3-pointer. The Blazers led 59-50 at the break, led by Lillard with 14 points. DeRozan had 15 for the Spurs.
McCollum's 3-pointer put the Blazers up 73-60, their biggest lead of the game to that point. The team stretched the lead to as many as 18 points in the 38-point quarter.
"They're such a great half-court team," said Spurs guard Patty Mills, who was drafted by the Blazers in 2009 and spent two seasons with the team. "Guys know their roles and they run their stuff really well. They're a group that's been together for quite some time now so they know their stuff."
The Blazers shot 53.6 percent from the floor for the game. The Spurs shot 42 percent.
Spurs: The two teams will meet four total times this season. The Spurs won last season's series 2-1. ... Chimezie Metu made his NBA debut. Metu was selected by the Spurs in the second round of the NBA Draft this past summer, after three seasons at USC.
Trail Blazers: Stauskas, acquired by the Blazers as a free agent in the offseason, grabbed the attention of fans with his performance in the opener and was treated with cheers when he came off the bench in the second quarter. ... Jake Layman had a career-high six rebounds.
LOTTA POINTS: Through their first two games, Portland has scored 249 points, second only to the 1984-85 season, when they had 250 in the two opening games.
The Spurs: Visit the Lakers and LeBron James on Monday.
The Blazers: Host the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Updated October 21, 2018