The Blazers are Back!
After a painful 3-game absence, the free-flowing, never-say-die Blazers finally made their appearance in the second round, utterly dominating the Spurs for the last two quarters, and leading for the majority of the first two. They got their first win of the series to make it 1-3 by beating the Spurs 103-92. While no NBA team has ever recovered from a 0-3 series deficit, a comfortable double-digit win surely makes the prospect more realistic, even if it’s still infinitesimal.
The feeling between what came following Game 4 and what came following games 1, 2, and 3 in this series are night and day.
Gone was the feeling of prolonged and persistent dread; replaced by prolonged and persistent optimism. Gone was that feeling that every Spurs shot would rip cord; replaced by the feeling that good defense would lead to a disproportionate number of misses. Rebounds no longer careened of Blazers players’ hands, but instead stuck like silly glue to construction paper.
The keys to the game:
- Tony Parker was contained, And after three field days, was limited to just 14 points in 27 minutes. Credit that mostly goes to Coach Stotts asking Nicolas Batum to guard his fellow Frenchman, which was certainly helped by…
- …the Blazers mostly going UNDER the Spurs’ screens rather than over. Allowing a few long jumpers is nothing compared to allowing your opponent to get into the lane and operate at will. Both of the above led to…
- …a renewed confidence on offense, where every loose ball, every layin, and every dunk was ASSUREDLY Portland’s, rather than assuredly something they didn’t deserve and something that bounced off their hands or the rim as harmlessly as houseflies off a sliding glass door.
The Blazers deserved a game like this. So did the fans. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t last. For one game, at least, our team can say it went up against the best in the league… and thoroughly kicked their butts. That’s pretty cool.
The Blazers have very little time to bask in their belated second-round success as they prepare to face the Spurs this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PDT in San Antonio.