Before the start of Game 4, Nic Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers already had his bags packed for a Game 5 in San Antonio.
With his team facing a 3-0 hole, Batum knew his team needed to fight to keep their season alive. Portland took that first step with a 103-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals series. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 25 points, while Batum chipped in 14 points and 14 rebounds.
“We had nothing to lose tonight. We had no pressure. It was do or die,” Batum said. “So we just go out there and play.”
Batum’s defense on Spurs guard Tony Parker was stellar. Parker was limited to just 14 points. Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw each added 12, while Kawhi Leonard chipped in 11 points.
“The energy was weird tonight,” Parker said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Portland. They played great. They came out of the gates and I thought Batum was great tonight. He gave them a big boost.”
Portland got out to a 29-24 lead after the first quarter, but would break things open after halftime. The Blazers outscored San Antonio 35-20 in the third quarter and limited the Spurs to 16 percent shooting from three-point range.
“If they lost today it was a sweep, but they’ve got pride and they played good,” San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. “They played the game more desperately than we did. We didn’t bring the same emotions the first three games. The bottom line is they played better than us in every aspect of the game.”
The Portland bench was sparked by Will Barton, who posted 17 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes for the Blazers.
“Any time you get a boost off the bench it’s always good for a momentum swing,” Danny Green said. “When he comes in and gets the crowd into it, they pretty much get it going, and it helped them a lot. ”
Lillard’s layup put Portland up by 18, 90-72 in the fourth quarter. He weaved his way through the lane again to make it 94-74 over a minute later.
The Spurs now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and will try to close out the Trail Blazers in Game 5 on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center at 8:30 p.m.