San Antonio Spurs go for the Sweep vs Portland


May 10, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and guard Danny 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

Tonight, at 9:30 CT, the San Antonio Spurs will go for the sweep in game 4 of this second round match-up with the Portland Trailblazers. Leading 3-0 and having won the first three games of this series (and the last game of last series) by 15 or more, the Spurs could be the first team in NBA history to win 5 games in a row by 15 or more since 1985.

San Antonio, meanwhile, has won its last four playoff games by 15+ points. The last team to win five in a row by such a margin: 1985 Lakers

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 12, 2014

With the OKC vs Clippers series looking like a sure seven-gamer, the Spurs will be excited to get this series over with. Even if they don’t win tonight, they can still head home and finish off the series to get plenty of rest before the Western Conference Finals. Just making the WCF will not be enough for San Antonio – only a Championship will be considered a successful season, so do not expect any let up in energy tonight. has the Spurs as 5 point favourites, despite being the road team. As you may have seen on the national telecast of game 3, San Antonio have only trailed for 33 seconds of this entire series. That means that of the 144 minutes, the Spurs have been trailing less than 0.5% of the time. Throw in the fact that San Antonio’s bench has really picked it up these last few games, and the Blazers’ only decent guard on the bench (Mo Williams) is expected to be out and it is clear that the Spurs should romp home to victory tonight…

…Which is exactly why they won’t. San Antonio has played 4 incredible games in a row now, and are due a clunker. For everything Coach Popovich says about getting in the flow, and not being “discombobulated” anymore, every team has the occasional lack-luster game where everything goes wrong. As a Spurs fan, I can’t think of a better time to get that game out of the way than right now, rather than in a more competitive series.

Even though I predicted it last game and was wrong, look for LaMarcus Aldridge to have a big game for all the reasons I said last time – he’s too good to keep missing shots, and the Spurs will struggle to play at this high a level for so long. If Aldridge has this game I’m predicting for him, we had better hope that Tony Parker can keep up his stellar play. After his last game, Coach Pop had some high praise for him.  

Pop on Parker: “He was the engine. He’s playing a complete game.” — Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 11, 2014

Prediction time!

I’m going to say Portland win a double digit game tonight, 112-100. They are too good and too proud to be swept, especially with the final game coming at home in front of one of the best crowds in the league. The Spurs bench slows down in this game, and Portland’s finally turns up, thereby finally swinging a game to the underdogs.