Western Conference Playoffs, Round 2, Game 4, San Antonio at Portland
Series Status: San Antonio leads 3-0
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on TNT, Radio on 620 AM.
TNT Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Jammie Maggio
Vegas Line: San Antonio -3.5
Refs: Monty McCutchen. John Goble and Ed Malloy. David Guthrie (Alternate)
The Skinny: Sometimes you just run into a buzzsaw and that is the case this series as the Spurs have made the Blazers look like the Sixers for much of the series. Not because Portland is playing especially poorly, although they are not playing well, but because the Spurs are that good. San Antonio will look for a fifth sweep in the last three seasons Monday.
Series in Review (Home team in bold for completed games, *=If necessary):
Game 1-San Antonio 116-Portland 92
Game 2-San Antonio 114-Portland 97
Game 3-San Antonio 118-Portland 103
Game 4-Monday at Portland-7:30 PM (TNT)
Game 5*-May 14 at San Antonio
Game 6*-May 16 at Portland
Game 7*-May 19 at San Antonio
Projected Spurs Lineup (Regular Season Averages):
PF-Tim Duncan (Wake Forest-17th Season)-15.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3 APG.
SF-Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State-3rd Season)-12.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2 APG.
C-Tiago Splitter (Brazil-4th Season)-8.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.5 APG
SG-Danny Green (North Carolina-5th Season)-9.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.5 APG.
PG-Tony Parker (France-13th Season)-16.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 5.7 APG
Player to Watch-Tim Duncan (Pictured at right)-When the book is finally closed on his career Tim Duncan will be remembered as one of the best PFs to ever play the game. Duncan has been at the top of his game ever since the day the basketball world first discovered him. Tim Duncan is consistent, smart and everything you want in a player. He has been good this series and there is no doubt that he still has greatness in him, this year or in the next few years.
Did You Know?: The last time the Blazers were down 3-0 (in the 2003 first round) they forced a 7th game against the Mavs before losing that series.
Song of the Day: “Bust a Bucket” by Dan Reed-If this is the last game of the season we’re going out with the best Blazers song of all time. Bust a bucket, who’d a dunk it, Blazer duty, super sunk it, slammin’ geez it, killer threes it, go up-get it-got it-good! Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG Mo Williams (Groin)
San Antonio: None
Adjustments: Perspective on This Season
Seven months ago I wrote in Portland’s preview (pinwheelempire.com/p/gp/previewing-the-nba-the-northwest-division-3/) “Best Case: Second Round. This Portland team is potentially good enough, unlikely as it is, to make the playoffs and upset a team in the first round depending on the matchup.” That has come to pass and it has come to pass in a way that not I or anyone else could have imagined. 21 more wins than last year, the continued emergence of a superstar in LMA and a possible second in Lillard and a core that this team can build on. It has been one of the most gratifying seasons of my Blazers fandom and whether it ends Monday or, here’s hoping, June, this season has proved that the Blazers are back and here to stay for quite a while.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They play their game. You’re down 3-0, play with pride, pride the way that got you 54 wins and a first round series victory and the season will not end Monday.
San Antonio wins if: They show no mercy. The Spurs have swept four teams in their last three playoff runs, they are good at closing out teams with no mercy. It is certainly possible, if not likely, that they move on Monday.