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Spurs try to finish off Blazers in Game 5 Wednesday
By: Mark Kern - StatFox
Published: 5/14/2014  at  5:48:00 AM
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PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (59-33)

at SAN ANTONIO SPURS (69-24)

NBA Playoffs - Western Conference Semifinals
Game 5 - San Antonio leads series 3-1
Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:35 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -8, Total: 208

The Trail Blazers were able to stave off elimination on Monday night at home against the Spurs, but the task will get much harder in Wednesday's Game 5 on the road at AT&T.

Portland showed it would not go down without a fight by winning 103-92 in Game 4. For the first time all series, the Trail Blazers were able to play well on the defensive end. The team did a great job of contesting the outside shots, limiting their opponent to 3-of-18 from three-point range. Portland was finally able to get some nice contributions from the bench, which had 26 points, and was actually leading at halftime in Game 4 (50-48) after trailing by 26, 19 and 20 points at half in the first three games of this series. Now the Blazers go back on the road where they have played well this season (25-21 SU, 27-19 ATS), but they have not enjoyed AT&T Center very much, going 5-15 SU (7-13 ATS) in their past 20 trips there including losses by 24 points and 17 points this series. After averaging 23.6 APG in the first three games of the series, San Antonio had only 13 assists on 39 field goals in Game 4. That played a big reason why the team shot so poorly from the 3-point line, as a lot of these shots were forced rather than the open looks the club had gotten in the previous games. For the Spurs, they are still in a great position to win the series, as they return home where they are 37-10 SU (.787), but only 23-24 ATS. But both teams also have negative betting trends, as Portland is 1-11 ATS on the road after two straight games of five or less steals this season, and San Antonio is 8-17 ATS at home after one or more consecutive Unders this season. The only significant injury in this game is Blazers SG Mo Williams ( in series), who has missed two straight games with a groin injury and is questionable for Wednesday.

Portland's offense has been struggling the entire series with only 98.8 PPG on 42% FG (33% threes), which is a far cry from the 105.8 PPG on 47% FG (34% threes) the team scored against San Antonio during the regular season. SF Nicolas Batum (15.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG in series) dominated Game 4 for the Trail Blazers, making his presence felt on both ends of the court with 14 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and a +13 rating. His ability to make plays with the ball in his hand allows PG Damian Lillard (20.5 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.0 RPG in series) to play more off the ball. Lillard exploded on Monday with a game-high 25 points (11-of-21 FG), five assists, four rebounds and a +17 rating. By sending him off the ball, it allows Lillard to get the ball in better positions to score, rather than bringing the ball up with the intention of distributing it to his teammates. PF LaMarcus Aldridge (22.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG in series) was not dominating on the glass in Game 4 (19 points, 4 rebounds), but that was in large part because of Batum and C Robin Lopez (10.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG in series), who had 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. For the first time all series, the team received some big contributions from the bench as PG Will Barton (9.8 PPG on 63% FG in series) and PF Thomas Robinson (3.3 PPG in series) both made big contributions for the team, combining for 26 points and 11 boards. With SG Mo Williams questionable to play, the team needs to get contributions from the bench to help the team compete against one of the benches in basketball. The Trail Blazers did a great job of rebounding the ball (53-46 advantage in Game 4), and they have to do again that if they want to bring the series back to San Antonio.

Even with an off-night in Game 4, the Spurs offense has been rolling this series with 110.0 PPG on 49.2% FG and 38.7% threes. They have also done a great job of taking care of the basketball with 21.0 APG and only 9.8 TOPG. PG Tony Parker (23.0 PPG, 6.5 APG in series) had been the catalyst in the beginning of this series, but could not take over the Game 4 like he had done previously. Parker scored 14 points on 6-of-12 FG, but had only one assist in the game with three turnovers and a game-worst rating of minus-17. One positive for San Antonio on Monday was that its bench still played very well in this game. PF Boris Diaw (9.8 PPG on 74% FG, 3.8 RPG in series) and PG Patty Mills (9.3 PPG on 61% FG in series) both were able to give the team double-digit scoring, combining for 22 points on 10-of-15 FG. One guy who has struggled all series for San Antonio is SG Danny Green (5.5 PPG on 32% FG in series) who had nine points (1-of-7 threes) in Game 4. After having a terrific postseason last year from the three-point line (55-of-114, 48%), Green has struggled to find the touch from deep in this series, going 4-for-18 from three-point range. PF Tim Duncan (13.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG in series) and SF Kawhi Leonard (15.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.3 SPG in series) both gave the Spurs a solid offensive performance on Wednesday. Duncan had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Leonard scored 11 points with seven boards, two steals and two blocks. But both lost their individual matchups for the first time in this series, posting a combined minus-29 rating in Game 4. San Antonio has been a terrific free throw shooting team this entire season (78.0% FT), but shot a dismal 11-of-19 (58%) in Monday's loss.

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