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Blazers Switch To Survival Mode

Robin Lopez and the Portland Trail Blazers will need to fight their way through Monday's Game 4 against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Robin Lopez and the Portland Trail Blazers will need to fight their way through Monday’s Game 4 against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

The Portland Trail Blazers will take to the hardwood Monday knowing that it’s win or go home. Literally.

Trailing the San Antonio Spurs 3-0, the Blazers must win in Monday night’s Game 4 if they’re to keep their championship hopes alive.

Tip-off at Moda Center is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET.

After an impressive first round against the Houston Rockets, Portland has looked overmatched in the Western Conference semifinals.

A 118-103 loss in Game 3 – the closest game of the series – has the Blazers reeling. Head coach Terry Stotts will need to hit the survival switch early on Monday if the team is to avoid a sweep.

The Blazers have dug themselves a big hole in each of the first three games of the series, trailing by 20-plus points at halftime. They’ve managed to fight back – winning each second half – but that comeback has never been enough to topple the Spurs, who have won each game by a minimum of 15 points.

The heavy discrepancy between the two teams has Blazer players scratching their heads. The Spurs have won in every aspect of the game, proving to be the type of championship caliber team the young Portland squad has yet to truly encounter.

Now the young Blazers are charged with winning four straight games. As we all know, no NBA team has ever reversed a 0-3 deficit to win a series, which is eerie reading for the team from the Pacific Northwest. But for Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Co., it’s a case of taking one game at a time and seeing what happens.

It’s also a case of pride.

If the Blazers need inspiration or want to see a side that played for pride, they need only look back at the 2003 NBA Playoffs.

The Blazers fell to 0-3 against the Dallas Mavericks that year before reeling off three straight wins to force a decisive Game 7. The side ultimately came up short in that series, but the fact that the team made it to Game 7 should be inspirational enough.

Meanwhile, the ever-professional Spurs will look to close out this series as soon as possible.

With the Los Angeles Clippers earning an unexpected come-from-behind victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon, a win on Monday would guarantee the Spurs a long rest ahead of the Western Conference finals. With the side’s aging roster, there’s no way Gregg Popovich and Co. would say no to recharging their batteries for a few days.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers odds for 05/12/2014

After dismal performances in the first three games of the series, Portland (+145) opened as the underdog despite playing at home. San Antonio (-165) is the moneyline favorite, and has seen its advantage stretch since the line opened.

The Spurs are now 13-5 against the Blazers in postseason competition, and have won nine straight meetings dating back to 1993, including three in the Rose City. However, the Blazers have won nine of their last 12 games against the Spurs at the Rose Garden / Moda Center in all competition.

Portland is 22-28 (.440) all-time when facing elimination from the playoffs but has lost its last three elimination games.

The spread opened at 3.5 and has climbed to 4 as bettors back the Spurs.

San Antonio has covered the spread in four straight games, including all three this series. The Blazers – who were 2-3-1 ATS in the first round against Houston – will need to upset that particular applecart if they’re to avoid elimination.

The total opened at 211.

The over has paid out in two of the three games this series and in six of San Antonio’s last seven visits to Portland.

Both Portland (6-3-0) and San Antonio (7-3-0) have favored the over this postseason.

If Portland manages to snatch a victory on Monday night, the Blazers will travel to San Antonio for Game 5 on Wednesday (time TBC).


Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets – Game 4

Miami leads series 2-1

8:00 – In Monday’s other game, the Brooklyn Nets will look to level the series with the defending champions, the Miami Heat.

The Nets handed the Heat a first loss of the postseason on Saturday, and will look to win again at Barclays Center on Monday. The Heat will be looking to jump out to a 3-1 series lead and move a step closer to a fourth straight Eastern Conference finals appearance.

Odds & Trends

For a full list of today’s NBA Playoffs odds, click here.

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