NBA Playoffs 2014 - Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs Game 4
It sometimes seems that opponents still prepare for the Spurs teams of the late 90's/early 2000's that was a half court team that played at a slow methodical pace. Portland has yet to keep Tony Parker and the rest of his teammates in front of them for consistent stretches and it has led to many fast breaks and easy points for the Spurs. Game 3 was no different, despite the series shifting to Portland's home floor, as the Spurs used a 28 point first quarter to build a 10 point lead and they never looked back in the 118-103 win.
Parker had 29 points and 6 assists in a game in which he looked to be playing effortlessly. He now has 29 or more points in 3 of his last 4 playoff games. He is continuing to prove that while he is often overshadowed, that when you have a discussion about who the best point guard in the world is, you better start the list with Parker. He was among a group of Spurs that went 25-25 from the foul line and turned the ball over just 7 times as a team. Tim Duncan had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists in over 40 minutes of play as Coach Greg Popovich took no chances in allowing Portland back into the game. Kawhi Leonard had a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench. Manu Ginobili had 14 points including 10-10 from the foul line.
Wesley Matthew, who had been relatively quiet for the series, led Portland with 22 points including 4 three pointers. Damian Lillard had 21 points and 9 assists but shot only 7-21 from the floor. LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had a fantastic game for the second game in a row with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. He has been the lone bright light in an otherwise demoralizing series. Portland's bench may as well join the witness protection program at this pace. The entire bench scored a total of 6 points on 8 shot attempts. If they are going to avoid a sweep in this series they are going to have to get something from their bench.
It appears as if the tough series that the Mavericks gave them has woken the Spurs up. With their up tempo attack and constant substitutions, they have gotten off to tremendous starts in all three games of the series. They them have too much depth and attention to detail to allow a tired group of Portland starters to make a comeback. For the Trailblazers it is now a matter of just finding a way to win the first quarter. If they are going to even think about winning game 4 they are going to need to get off to a good start.
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