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It’s Groundhog Day for Portland as Spurs dominate again, lead series 3-0

May 11, 2014, 2:40 AM EDT

Robin Lopez, Tim Duncan Robin Lopez, Tim Duncan

Bill Murray had an infinite number of days in the movie Groundhog Day to repeat the same experiences, learn his lessons and win over Andie MacDowell.

The Trail Blazers are running out of time to learn their lessons — one more game and their season ends.

This series feels like Groundhog Day for Trail Blazers fans. Just like in Games 1 and 2, the San Antonio Spurs took an early lead, exploited the fact nobody on Portland can guard Tony Parker (29 points and 6 assists), had Tiago Splitter stifle LaMarcus Aldridge (9-of-23 shooting for 21 points), blew the game open in the second quarter and coasted in to a 118-103 win.

San Antonio now leads the series 3-0. The only question left is if the series ends Monday night in Portland or next Wednesday night back in San Antonio.

You can really just pick any area and the Spurs dominated Game 3 (and the series):

• Bench scoring. Through three games this series the San Antonio bench has outscored Portland’s 140-43. That gives Gregg Popovich matchup options Portland and Terry Stotts just does not have.

• Tony Parker. He continues to just carve up the Trail Blazers defense, getting into the paint and with that breaking down all things Portland. Why are we all so slow to call him the best point guard in the game? (I’m guilty of it.)

• Portland’s defense. We knew it wasn’t all that great — they have some good individual defenders, but to beat the Spurs you have to play as a unit, you have to be a defense on a string. The Blazers are not. The Spurs are moving the ball to uncontested shots all too easily (60 percent of their shots were not contested in Game 3, according to the NBA’s Sports VU camera data).

• Tiago Splitter. He draws the Aldridge assignment and just corrals the Blazers’ All-Star. Which allows the other defenders to stay home on their men. Which leads to the next note…

• Limiting Damian Lillard from three. He was 0-of-6 in this game. For most of the series the Spurs have sat on all the Blazers shooters, but in Game 3 Nicolas Batum (4-of-7 from three, 20 points) and Wes Mathews (4-of-10 from three, 22 points) got loose a little. Still, the Blazers need Lillard to go off to really be effective.

We could go on, but I think the point is clear.

Tim Duncan had 19 points and helped slam the door when the Blazers tried to make a second half run. Kawhi Leonard seems to be everywhere. Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili, everyone is playing well for San Antonio.

This is simply a case where not only are the Spurs the better team they are terrible matchup for the Blazers. San Antonio was not sharp against Dallas in the first round (give the Mavs some credit there) but since Game 7 of that series they have been the best team in the playoffs.

Portland had a great season, made big leaps. Now they are seeing what the next level they need to reach is. They are learning some lessons the hard way.

The Spurs have taught a lot of teams those lessons during the past 15 years.

  1. 00maltliquor - May 11, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    How in the world was Dallas able to push the Spurs to the brink but Portland can’t sniff a W???

    R.I.P. City

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      better defense, better offense and dirk. honestly the mavs steped it up in the playoffs the blazers not so much in this series. dont see y they r called rip city they actually had some good shots but cant seem to make them. more like dud city

    • apkyletexas - May 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      The Mavs have a lot of great pieces and a brilliant coach who knows how to throw multiple looks at a payer on defense and how to install complicated sets on offense.

      • 00maltliquor - May 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        I’ll give you the brilliant coach remark, but a lot of great pieces?? Really? The 2014 Mavericks, along with the 2014 Hawks have got to have the most garbage playoff rosters I have seen in a loooong time. Maybe of all time.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - May 11, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    Well, if your team’s going to get smoked, it might as well be by the best there is.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      true that. go spurs!

      • spthegr8 - May 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        ^^^ The Spurs aren’t the Best. The Heat are until further notice!! IJS!! ^^^

      • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        ha ha i beg to differ but thats my opinion

  3. ranfan12 - May 11, 2014 at 3:23 AM

    wow tony parker is something else

    • gameisours - May 11, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      Well Lillard isn’t that great after all

      • asimonetti88 - May 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Lillard is a second year player in his first playoffs going up against a veteran former NBA Finals MVP. He’ll learn and grow and continue to improve, he’s already a great player just look at the first round series

      • ranfan12 - May 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        tony parker does it against nearly every team though lol

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 11, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Lillard isn’t very solid defensively but you can’t dispute what he’s done in only two years and especially what he did to the hapless Rockets guards.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      yep underrated. i bet if he wasnt on the spurs he wouldnt be counted out so much and like the writer says guilty of not stating hes the best point guard in the league as are other media but i knew it go tp congrats on ur new role as a father!

  4. antistratfordian - May 11, 2014 at 3:25 AM

    Portland has gone super soft. Limp. I think they started to believe their own hype. But it makes sense that a savvy, experienced team like Dallas would take the Spurs to 7 while these complete greenhorns can’t even lose respectably.

    • kavika6 - May 11, 2014 at 7:44 AM

      With all the whining and cheap shots, the Mavericks didn’t act as respectably as Portland has. Other than Wesley Matthews this has been a clean, respectable series, except on the scoreboard.

      • antistratfordian - May 11, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        Veteran teams know how to whine, cheap shot and flop effectively. Believe me, the Spurs are doing it. It’s just more stealthy. Maybe Portland needs to grow up.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      this team was so overhyped comin into this game that ppl actually thought theyd win this series (im specifically lookin at u charles) rip city i think not more like brick city or chuck ur wrong again city they need more and better players to fill out their score card

      • antistratfordian - May 11, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        You kind of hit on something even I forgot about. Brick city.

        Portland is a jump shooting team. It’s been said over and over this year about teams like Portland and Golden State i.e. their style of play is not going to get them very far in the playoffs. For some reason people forgot all about that when this series started.

        Add that to their inexperience and the quality of their opponent and it was a recipe for disaster.

  5. seattlesuperchronic - May 11, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    The Spurs will be rewarded with either the Clippers or Thunder, harsh.

    • antistratfordian - May 11, 2014 at 3:46 AM

      If they get the Clippers it will be Flopapalooza 2014.

      • seattlesuperchronic - May 11, 2014 at 4:12 AM

        Why all the thumbs down for Flopapalooza? Have a sense of humor people, that was funny!

      • jimeejohnson - May 11, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        Haters have no humor.

      • zerole00 - May 11, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        The funny thing is the Clippers can’t win a flop war either, Manu Ginobili’s been flopping professionally since CP3/Griffin were in middle school.

  6. ajw21 - May 11, 2014 at 5:59 AM

    Not worried about the Clippers and won’t be until they beat us. I am all for Irony. Don’t like the Thunder matchup, Spurs have a chance but need to play lights out 4 out of 7 games for that to happen.
    Go Spurs!

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      agreed they need to keep playin heavy d to get some easy o because it wont b that easy if they hav to beat the thunder but i think with this roster n they way theyv been playin it can b done. go spurs go!

  7. kb2408 - May 11, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    Break out the brooms. Spurs v. Thunder in an epic battle for the “real” NBA Championship. Yes, I’m dismissing whoever represents the East. Even if it is the “mighty” Heat they will lose in 6 games.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      agreed but i still want spurs vs heat rematch cuz last year was a fluke

      • kb2408 - May 11, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        @the1nonlyk…seems like everybody outside of Miami knows last season was a fluke. I can’t wait to see all the bandwagon Heat “fans” jumping off. Like they were doing in game 6 last season before the miracle three pointer.

    • jimeejohnson - May 11, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      You call the Heat “mighty”. I call the Lakers “LOSERS”.

      • kb2408 - May 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Well, jj, that’s a matter of how you define “loser.” Considering the LAKERS are the winningest franchise this side of Boston in the NBA, I don’t consider them losers. Now, if you expect them to win the title every season then I guess I see your point. However, as great of a franchise as the LAKERS have been for over 3 decades, to expect a championship every season is unrealistic. The LAKERS will be on top again…sooner rather than later.

      • 00maltliquor - May 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM


        Nah, The LAKERS are the most winningest franchise in the league all-time. Only thing Boston has is one more trophy. Take a look at the win-loss column for each franchises history.

      • spthegr8 - May 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM


  8. golfrangeman - May 11, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Once again kb2408 why do you keep mentioning the heat in the finals when you said there losing to Brooklyn? Sounds like your hedging your bets. By the way where are you lakers right now?

    • kb2408 - May 11, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Read my comment, sir. I’m predicting it’s 2-2 going back to Miami. It’s all irrelevant in the long run anyway, the East is a joke and the Spurs or OKC will soon be Champs.

      • 00maltliquor - May 11, 2014 at 2:04 PM


  9. bucrightoff - May 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    It’s like the Spurs machine was just undergoing system updates in round one against the Mavs, and now it’s back to running at optimal performance. Blazers needed this experience to show them where they are and how much more work they have to do to play with the elite.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      true that!

      • sportsfan18 - May 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        12 yr olds say true that

        and whatever

        and just saying

        go pick your pimples and come back when you grow up

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 11, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Remember in the 2012 playoffs when the Spurs machine was overclocked and outperforming every other machine by miles… only to have a catastrophic system failure at the worst time and fall in 4 straight performance tests to the flashy-but-often-underperforming Thunder machine?

      • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        well every team has failed at some point or another its called growing pains

  10. robigd - May 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Spurs defense doesn’t like quick penetrating PG’s. Hope it takes 1 more game for Lillard to figure that out.

    • the1nonlyk - May 11, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      lillard a quick penetrating pg? im not seein anything other than poor guard

  11. golfrangeman - May 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    So kb2408 the all time leader in 3 pointers ( regular and playoffs ) it’s a fluke that he hits a big 3 when it counts the most.
    Dude you really need to grow up !!!

  12. naterich21 - May 11, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    The Mavs and Blazers are slightly similar as teams so the Spurs were already prepared for the Blazers style of play. You can make the argument that the Blazers are better than the Mavericks and vice versa but the Spurs have learned how to handle both of them

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