"It's to be appreciated to the very last minute," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, speaking about last season's title before the start of last night's game. "So if we lose, blame it on my bad prep." Popovich will earn no reproaches after the Spurs' 106-97 season-opening victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, the first step toward consecutive championships.
The stars led the way, with Tim Duncan posting 24 points, Tony Parker 19, and Manu Ginobili 16. Duncan also had 13 rebounds, while Ginobili racked up eight assists. Despite LeMarcus Aldridge's 27 points, and Martel Webster's 21, the Trail Blazers didn't muster a serious threat until coming within three points with two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.