Fans of the Portland Trail Blazers went home satisfied on Monday evening after watching their beloved team seize a crucial Game 4 from the veteran San Antonio Spurs. They were staring down the barrel of a possible comeback that would be akin to the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who came roaring back to win four straight game after losing the first three games to the New York Yankees in the American League pennant. The Sox would then go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. This piece of history would prove to be somewhat of a lenient for the ailing Blazers, proving that nothing is impossible when it comes to sports.
Hope must have diminished slightly for the underdog team when another 1-3 underdog, the Brooklyn Nets, were eliminated by Joey Crawford (er… LeBron James) and the Miami Heat mere minutes before the start of Portland’s first quarter on Wednesday night. The Spurs would take the lead early in the first, with the help of Danny Green and his pull-up jumper with 5:50 left on the clock that put San Antonio up 12-6. Rip City then went on a surprising 13-4 run (with the help of Nicolas Batum’s seven points and LaMarcus Aldridge’s six points) that would tie up the scoreboard at 19-19 by the end of the first.
During the opening minutes of the second quarter, the entire city of San Antonio held their breath as their star point guard, Tony Parker, went down on the court with less than nine minutes left in the half, and was assisted to the locker room, citing tightening in his hamstring. Despite the apparent loss of Parker, the Spurs led 30-24 and were in the process of going on a 10-0 run, which was put to an end by a Robin Lopez jumper. After trailing by 15, the Blazers sparked to life with a 7-2 run, but the Spurs (who shot 50% from the three-point line) would maintain their steady edge over Portland going into the locker room at the half, leading 51-44.
Spurs started the second half by going on an 8-0 run, which was put to rest by Kawhi Leonard’s massive slam on the net. Despite going on a late 7-2 run, Rip City still had 12 minutes to close a daunting 14-point gap since the Spurs were leading 77-63 headed into the fourth. However, the last quarter was all San Antonio as they bid adieux to the worn looking Portland. Spurs would close the game 104-82 and end the Trail Blazers season with feverish bellow.
Spurs move on to face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Oklahoma City Thunder in five days, which should give Parker time to rest and be fittingly fresh to face either team.