San Antonio Spurs: 3 Lessons Learned from the 3-0 Series Dominance over the Portland Trail Blazers
May 10, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; San Antonio Spurs forwardKawhi Leonard
(2) and guardDanny Green
(4) react after making a basket during the fourth quarter in game three of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Boy, is this getting ugly.
I bet even Mike Tirico didn’t even see this coming. The San Antonio Spurs are one game away from the Western Conference Finals by handing another beating aka whipping aka lesson to the Portland Trail Blazers 118-103.
San Antonio fans, this score doesn’t even begin to describe the dismantling that your Spurs did to these guys. These teams meet for Game four Monday night in Portland.
I wonder what is going to happen first, will Portland win a game or will Charles Barkley actually apologize for calling women in San Antonio fat. Charles Barkley said that it will be a cold day in Hades (I’ll say Hades for the young readers out there, Air Alamo is a family friendly website) before he apologizes. It might be a cold day down there before the Portland Trail Blazers win a game the way this series is going. No team has EVER come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series (psst…these guys won’t either) but the Portland Trail Blazers came close back in 2003 winning three straight against the Dallas Mavericks before falling in that first round matchup. (Psst…that won’t happen either.) Tony Parker led the San Antonio Spurs with 29 points again outplaying Damian Lillard (more on that later.)
Kawhi Leonard had a double-double scoring 16 points and grabbed ten rebounds. Tim Duncan had his best game scoring of the series with 18. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds but only shot 9-23 from the floor. Wesley Matthews had 22 points and Damian Lillard had 21. Again, stats can lie and the Blazers were padding stats in the second half…again because thee game was over in the first half…again. Anyway here’s what I learned.
Who wins the Spurs-Blazers series?
1. Tony Parker is proving to be the best point guard in the NBA…PERIOD!
May 10, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) dribbles the ball around Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews (2) during the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
The only reason why I’m not on the phone calling Mrs. Lillard about what Tony Parker is doing to her son is because I don’t want to mess up her Mother’s Day.
Tony Parker is embarrassing Damian Lillard in this series. Tony Parker scored 20 of his 29 points in the first half. He has now scored 29 or more points in the three of the last four playoff games.
Here’s his stat line he scored his 29 points on an efficient 12-20 from the field. He knocked two from the land of plenty just before the end of the first half to put the Spurs up 58-35 on the way to a 60-40 halftime lead. He added six assists and one steal. What we are witnessing Spurs fans is the definition of a player that actually knows how to play basketball. Tony Parker is controlling the entire game with the efficiency of his play at the point guard position.
As for Damian Lillard, he needs to take this series as a learning experience. He remind me of a high school kid at the YMCA who thinks he can play because he’s the best player on the block. He comes to play ball in a matching outfit with a fresh pair of Jordans. Tony Parker is the guy that comes in with an old pair of Pro Keds, cardigan shorts and an old Andy Gibb T-shirt. By the time the pick up games are over, the high school kid is getting laughed at and he has no idea why.
That’s how this series is going.
2. Gregg Popovich has not gotten over Game six of last year’s NBA Finals.
May 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) talks with head coach Gregg Popovich against the Portland Trail Blazers in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
I think Monday’s Game four will be the Portland Trail Blazers season finale.
Why am I saying this? Because I don’t think that Gregg Popovich will allow the Spurs to let up.
When Portland was making their run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 11 points, I saw Popovich cussing Tony Parker out. Remember Tony Parker has been the star of the series. Remember Tony Parker has been the star OF THIS GAME! Gregg Popovich has been obsessing over the loss in the Finals last year since LeBron and company held that Larry O’Brien over their collective heads. He came up with a plan that included sitting Tony Parker down for a few games in April for what he called maladies. (Okay, you guys can explain it to me, what is maladies exactly?)
Now Tony Parker is fresh and ready for the title run. Couple that with the normal rest of the older stars Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan, the bench has gotten valuable floor time and have done very well in this series. Let’s be clear here Spurs fans. Gregg Popovich knows he made a huge mistake sitting Duncan down in Game six of the Finals that allowed Chris Bosh to get that ill-fated rebound that led to Ray Allen‘s historic three to send it into overtime to extend the series. He will never admit it but that bothers him.
But you can tell he wants to rectify it this year. Now it is starting to show.
3. Forget what you heard…The San Antonio Spurs are not boring.
May 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guardManu Ginobili
(20) passes the ball under the basket against Portland Trail Blazers centerRobin Lopez
(42) in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 114-97. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The common word around the NBA campfire is that the Spurs are boring.
I mean it’s really easy to think that way considering that you have “Lob City” in Los Angeles with Chris Paul tossing alley oops to everyone from Blake Griffin to the vendor at the hot dog stand. I mean you have Oklahoma City who features the MVP in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But let me tell everyone this…San Antonio when they are on are pretty to watch.
It’s just that they have a system that works for them and has for so many years. What’s so amazing is how Gregg Popovich basically changed the half court offense centered around Tim Duncan to a faster pace that features Tony Parker and Kwahi Leonard. The San Antonio Spurs remind me of a football team with a running back that can’t be stopped and they keep handing the ball to him while he gains ten yards a carry. Teams know what the Spurs are going to do but not many teams have the discipline to play against it for 48 minutes.
The Portland Trail Blazers are having trouble playing against it for 12 minutes. The Spurs have scored in the second quarter of this series 36, 41 and 32 points in this series. Boring? I think not.
Here’s my three lessons…Now learn from this!
Tim Duncan moved past Karl Malone into fifth all-time for career playoff points. He now trails Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Keep up the good work, Tim!