Portland, who narrowly lost Game 1, emphatically outplayed the Spurs in the first half of Game 2, taking a 48–34 lead. The Blazers then scored the first four points of the second half, forcing Gregg Popovich to call timeout. The Spurs then went on a 9–2 run before Blazers coach Mike Dunleavy called time to break their momentum. However, the Spurs continued their run, scoring 8 unanswered to make it 54–51 and force Dunleavy to call another timeout. Stacey Augmon hit 2 free throws with 4:15 left in the quarter to finally end the Spurs' run.
The momentum went back and forth until Damon Stoudamire was fouled with 12 seconds left in the fourth. He hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 85–83. The Spurs called time to advance to half-court. After the time-out, Spurs guard Mario Elie inbounded the ball past a diving Augmon to forward Sean Elliott.
Elliott, who was privately battling an ailment that required kidney transplant surgery, caught the inbounds pass near the sideline. He stayed on his toes while turning to shoot a 3, careful not to set his heels down and turn it over. With Rasheed Wallace running at him trying to block the shot, Elliott arched the ball over Wallace's outstretched hand and into the basket with 9 seconds left to give the Spurs an 86–85 lead. Time expired after Portland failed to score, and the Spurs, who had trailed all game, celebrated on the court.