NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 12th (All times Eastern)
(1) San Antonio Spurs (3-0) at (5) Portland Trail Blazers (0-3), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs will try to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night when Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series culminates from the Moda Center.
The Spurs grabbed a 3-0 series lead with a 118-103 road victory Saturday night.
The veteran-led Spurs, who needed seven games to get past the pesky Dallas Mavericks in the opening round, have made it look easy against the upstart Blazers here in the second round. After winning by 24 and 17 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively, San Antonio shot a perfect 25-for-25 from the foul line on its way to a third consecutive blowout.
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 29 points in Game 3.
"Tony has been the engine for us and he started out really well tonight," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "He made shots, he involved everybody else. He played D at the other end. He really played a whole, complete game."
Tim Duncan finished with 19 points and moved into fifth place all-time in playoff scoring. He trails just Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
Kawhi Leonard tallied 16 points with 10 rebounds and Manu Ginobili netted 14 off the bench for the Spurs, who committed just seven turnovers while forcing 14. Patty Mills added 10 for the second unit.
Four Portland starters poured in 20-plus points, but with sixth man Mo Williams sidelined with a groin injury, the Blazers reserves contributed just six points -- four of which went to C.J. McCollum in the final 1:34 -- on eight shots. San Antonio's bench is outscoring Portland's 140-43 in three games.
Wesley Matthews led the way for Portland with 22 points, Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 apiece and Nicolas Batum scored 20 in the deflating setback.
"It was disappointing to have a game like this," said Portland head coach Terry Stotts. "To have a game like this, the crowd was great. We made it interesting in the second half, but against San Antonio if you put your guard down, they take advantage of it. They're good because they have a lot of options."
The Blazers are clearly in trouble as no team has ever come back to win a seven game series after trailing 3-0 in NBA history.
Portland led by one early in the first quarter, but San Antonio quickly went back on top and built a comfortable lead as the quarter went on. Duncan's jumper ignited an 8-0 surge to make it 20-13. In the waning moments of the period, Marco Belinelli got an off-balance jumper to go to push the margin into double figures, and the Spurs led 28-18 after the first.
Belinelli and Patty Mills stepped into back-to-back 3s early in the second. Boris Diaw followed with a sweeping layup and less than two minutes into the period, the lead had grown to 16. It was 60-40 at halftime.
A pair of Batum 3-pointers highlighted a 17-4 flurry to open the second half, as Portland showed signs of life for the first time since early in the contest. But the deficit was too much to overcome.
"We're just playing great right now. I don't know what to say," said Parker. "I just think we're very focused. We came in today and played great D and took care of the ball and ended up with the win. It's a great team win."
If necessary, Game 5 will be Wednesday night back in San Antonio.
05/12 10:23:54 ET