On the brink of elimination, the Portland Trail Blazers shared the ball, locked down on defense and refused to get swept out of the playoffs Monday night at the Moda Center. Portland kept its season alive behind a huge third quarter that helped fuel a 103-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The Spurs will have another opportunity to close out Portland at home on Wednesday.
This series has been defined by San Antonio's ability to crush the Blazers in the first half of the previous three games, but that wasn't the case in Game 4. Portland held a two-point lead at the break after trailing by at least 19 points at halftime in every other game this series. The Blazers found confidence in a solid start and used it to blitz San Antonio 35-20 in the third quarter.
Damian Lillard finally found his groove against the Spurs on Monday. The 23-year-old point guard finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. It was the first time Lillard had shot over 50 percent from the field in the series. He threw down this huge dunk during the second quarter to work the Moda Center into a frenzy:
Lillard didn't do it alone. LaMarcus Aldridge shined as an inside-outside threat to score 19 points. Nicolas Batum stuffed the box score to the tune of 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Will Barton gave the Blazers a much needed spark off the bench in the first half to finish with 17 points.
The Spurs fell in part because they only made 3-of-18 shots from three-point range. Tony Parker led San Antonio with 14 points but only finished with one assist. Four other San Antonio scorers reached double-figures, including Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw, who each had 12 points.
Portland finished the night with an edge in rebounding and assists, and out-scored the Spurs 62-44 in the paint.
Game 5 will be Wednesday in San Antonio, where the Spurs won the previous two games by a combined 41 points.