Portland got here in dramatic fashion. The Spurs? Not so much. But both were late to the party. After Damian Lillard hit a much needed game-winning shot on Friday, it was San Antonio that needed seven games to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 119-96, on Sunday.
The Trail Blazers haven't been to the second round in 14 years, which stands in stark contrast to their second-round opponents. Against Houston, every game for Portland was decided within the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, with Lillard's big bucket with 0.9 seconds left lifting them to the semifinals, to the celebration of the city around them.
But Portland struggled mightily when Houston clamped down on LaMarcus Aldridge on the block. Their saving grace was the ability of Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum to create an in-out attack with their All-Star forward tied up down low.
San Antonio figures to be even tougher defensively than Houston. The Spurs finished third in the NBA in defensive efficiency rating and in assist-to-turnover ratio. That will be tough for Portland, which nearly set a league record for fewest opponent turnovers this season.
Matchup nightmares exist all over this series. For San Antonio, getting someone to cover Lillard is going to be a nightmare. The same can be said for Aldridge, who averaged 21.3 points per-game on 56-percent shooting against the Spurs in three regular season games this year.
For Portland, finding someone -- anyone -- who can guard playoff-mode Tony Parker will plague them question for the entire series. Boris Diaw has been an issue for the Blazers this season, and Tim Duncan is one of the toughest covers in the NBA. Game 1 is on Tuesday, and it's going to be a dogfight.
Game time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Center