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Sochan, Wembanyama help Spurs overcome 40 points from Simons to top Trail Blazers, 116-100

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jeremy Sochan had 31 points and 14 rebounds, Victor Wembanyama added 23 points and 12 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs held off Anfernee Simons and the Portland Trail Blazers 116-100 on Friday night.

Simons had 40 points, one shy of his season high, and 10 assists.

Sochan was two points off matching his career high after being held to two points Wednesday night in a 140-114 loss to Oklahoma City.

“At times, I sometimes go up and maybe sometimes I forget how athletic I can be,” Sochan said. “Sometimes I get a little weak and I get pushed around. The emphasis recently is just go in strong and finish the two.”

Keldon Johnson added 21 points for San Antonio, and Devin Vassell had 15. The Spurs won for the fourth time in January, their most in any month this season, to improve to 9-36.

Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Portland. The Trail Blazers have lost three of four to fall to 13-32.

Simons had 16 points in the fourth quarter but Portland could not overcome a double-digit deficit.

“In the last couple of games I just want to get back to just kind of being a little bit more aggressive, especially early on,” Simons said. “Just find ways to get the shots I want to take.”

The Spurs extended their lead to 18 points in the fourth quarter, their first double-digit lead since Jan. 12 against Charlotte.

Sochan had 20 points in the second half as he continues to rebound from a sluggish start.

At 6-foot-8, Sochan struggled in the opening months as the Spurs experimented with him as their starting point guard in a big lineup that featured 7-footers in Wembanyama and Zach Collins. San Antonio scrapped those plans in December and Sochan has blossomed since.

He had a season high in rebounds and matched a career high with four 3-pointers against Portland.

“When he is playing like that, he is just a great player in every aspect of the game, so it makes me happy to see that,” Wembanyama said.

Wembanyama was 7 for 18 from the field after jumpstarting his game and San Antonio’s.

Wembanyama blocked Simons’ jumper straight down to the court, enabling the Spurs to gather, and set up a 3-pointer by Jones. Three possessions later, Wembanyama scored his first points on a running slam off a lob from Tre Jones.

San Antonio finished with 25 assists on 42 shots.

“They’ve done that a lot this season,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “There have been times we’ve turned it over too much or not shot well, but pretty consistent as far as sharing the ball and getting the number of assists we need to have a chance to win.”

It was the second game of a seven-game homestand for the Spurs before embarking on their annual three-week road trip necessitated by the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo occupying the Frost Bank Center.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Host Chicago on Sunday night.

Spurs: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba