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Double-Overtime Loss Takes a Toll on Spurs : Western Conference: Setback in two extra periods at Portland leaves San Antonio one defeat from elimination despite a big comeback.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Remember the overtime.

That’s what is on the minds of the San Antonio Spurs as they enter Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series against Portland tonight at HemisFair Arena, trailing the Trail Blazers, 3-2, one loss from elimination.

The Spurs got themselves into this jam by losing Game 5, 138-132, in double overtime Tuesday night at Portland, but it was a game they had a clear shot at winning.

Trailing, 91-69, with 5:17 left in the third quarter, San Antonio put the game into the first overtime on David Wingate’s 24-foot three-point basket with 1.5 seconds left.

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It was Wingate’s first three-point basket of the season.

“Honestly, I thought we were going to win it,” Spur forward Sean Elliott said. “To me, there was no question about it. All the momentum was ours.”

The Spurs can take heart in the fact that they are capable of climbing out of a hole, even if it is one they dug themselves.

Spur guard Willie Anderson identified the problem: “We came out like trash.”

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The Spurs cannot afford another trash day. As well as San Antonio rallied, the Trail Blazers eventually prevailed--without a healthy center--on three free throws in the last 44 seconds after a jump shot by Drazen Petrovic with 59 seconds left.

By the time Petrovic dribbled twice and calmly made his 18-footer, four Spurs had fouled out, including center David Robinson, the starting backcourt of Rod Strickland and Anderson and backup Wingate.

When Robinson walked to the bench, he took 27 points and 15 rebounds with him. Robinson left a tie game with 1:05 remaining in the first overtime as he fouled Terry Porter on a drive up the middle.

Porter, who had 38 points--27 in the first half--made two free throws after the foul by Robinson, and Terry Cummings shot an airball on the Spurs’ next trip down.

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Another in a series of Trail Blazer goofs let the Spurs back in. Just as Clyde Drexler’s missed free throw with 7.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter allowed San Antonio to tie the score on Wingate’s three-pointer, Portland failed to get the ball across midcourt after Cummings’ missed shot.

Said Drexler, who scored 35 points: “We played like boneheads.”

Given another chance, the Spurs got even again. Elliott’s jump shot with 20 seconds remaining tied it, 126-126, and sent the game into a second overtime.

Drexler fouled out, as did Cliff Robinson, but Portland got a break on a defensive play by Petrovic.

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After his jump shot gave Portland some breathing room, 134-131, Petrovic slapped a Spurs inbounds pass off Cummings’ leg and forced an over-and-back violation.

Porter made two free throws and Cummings one before Portland’s Jerome Kersey put the game away with two more free throws with 11 seconds remaining.

Cummings, who had 32 points and 11 rebounds, wonders what negative effect falling short might have on the Spurs.

“When things start happening, (when) you make three-point shots when the game is out of reach, you feel like you can do anything,” said Cummings, who played 52 of 58 minutes. “But this is draining for us because we put a lot into the game.”

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Anderson finished with 23 points and wounded feelings.

“It hurts to lose, man, it hurts to lose,” he said. “You fight so hard, come back. We lost and gave everything we could to win, (but) no matter which way you look at it, it was a loss.”

The Spurs might feel better at home, where they defeated Portland by 23 and 10 points in Games 3 and 4.

A defeat tonight would end San Antonio’s season, but even if the Spurs win, they face the daunting prospect of a Game 7 in the Portland Coliseum, where the Spurs have lost 12 in a row.

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“Now, we only need one,” Portland Coach Rick Adelman said.


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