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Ailing Spurs visit Portland

Mar 25, 2011 - 4:02 PM (Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs are nearing their second Southwest Division title in three years and will continue a three-game road trip tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.

The Spurs are seven games ahead of Dallas in the division standings with 11 games to go and six games in front of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference. They had a three-game winning streak stopped with a 122-115 loss at Denver in the opener of the trek on Wednesday, as Manu Ginobili led the way with 20 points and Tony Parker netted 19 in defeat.

Gary Neal came off the bench to score 25 points for San Antonio, which lost for only the second time in eight tries and dropped to 24-11 away from the Alamo City. Antonio McDyess had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

San Antonio is playing without big man Tim Duncan because of an ankle injury and DeJaun Blair is nursing a balky wrist. Tiago Splitter filled in down low with 10 points and 14 rebounds against the Nuggets.

"Well Tiago is going to give you that (hustle) every night. He's going to bust his butt to rebound and play defense. He's going to give you that grunt that every team needs and every coach loves. That's nothing different from him. That's just what he does," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said.

The Spurs will also visit Memphis on the road swing.

Portland will shoot for its sixth straight win as the host when it welcomes the NBA-best Spurs to Rip City.

The Trail Blazers have won eight of 11 games overall and posted their fifth win in a row at home with Tuesday's 111-76 blowout of the Washington Wizards behind Gerald Wallace's game-high 28 points. Nicolas Batum and LaMarus Aldridge both scored 22 points for Portland, which is 25-10 as the host.

"We played with a lot of poise," said Aldridge.

Batum grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds while Wesley Matthews posted 15 points in a winning effort. The Blazers are sixth in the conference standings, just a half-game ahead of New Orleans and 1 1/2 games in back of Denver.

Blazers veteran center Marcus Camby (ankle) is probable versus the Spurs. He did play versus Washington.

The 2010-11 season series between San Antonio and Portland is tied at a game apiece, with each team claiming victory at home. The Blazers have won six of their previous seven matchups between the two clubs while the Spurs are winless in their last five trips to the Pacific Northwest.