Game 3 started very similarly to the first two: Spurs dominance. As the crowd groaned, the Spurs easily jumped ahead by 7 points. Portland had some fight in them, taking a brief lead, but the Spurs promptly scored 8 points in response to restore their 7 point lead. They led by 10 as the quarter closed, then promptly went on their usual second quarter run, dominating the Blazer bench (minus the injured Mo Williams) to take a 16 point lead. Then 20. The Blazers were getting out-played at both ends, and increasingly had that "we're just happy to be here" look. They tried to make a run, then committed repeated turnovers to find themselves down 20 again. They weren't playing well on offense, they were getting exposed on defense, and Aldridge picked up his third foul. And Tony Parker hit another three for a 23 point lead. Victor Claver came into the game, and immediately missed three consecutive free throws. Portland's last two possessions of the half involved a terribly bricked three-pointer and a turnover. They were lucky to be within 20 going into the locker room.
Portland came out ready to give it one more run, and cut the Spurs lead to 10 in the first four minutes. Matthews cut the deficit to single digits, and Batum sliced it to 7 with a fadeaway. But the Blazers airballed a three-pointer, missed a layup, made more mistakes and the Spurs settled down. They led by 14 going into the fourth quarter, when former Blazer Patty Mills hit a three-pointer. Suddenly all that work was vanishing and the Spurs lead was 17 again. The Blazers kept pushing, and the Spurs always had the answer. The Blazers started committing frustration fouls, but were finding ways to commit those fouls so softly, they still let the Spurs score. The Blazers dug deep and made one last-ditch run, but it was too late. All that was left was for the Blazers and their fans to wonder what might have been, and stare at a 0-3 series deficit.
Very possibly the end of the season, in Portland Monday night against these Spurs. Perhaps they'll start missing shots. Don't get your hopes up.
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