The Portland Trail Blazers were able to knock off the San Antonio Spurs 103-92 in Game 4 to cut their series deficit to 3-1. There has never been a team that has been able to come back from a 3-0 hole in an NBA playoff series, but the Blazers certainly aren’t giving up on trying to make history. What three keys does Portland have to focus on in order to make history and a comeback on the Spurs?
1. Get 3-Point Shooting Going
Portland has been one of the NBA’s most dangerous 3-point shooting teams all season long, but they have gone cold in this series against the Spurs. If they have any chance at all of coming back and making this a series again, they are going to need to catch fire again from behind the arc. Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and Mo Williams when he returns from injury will need to step up their shooting numbers.
2. Play Through LaMarcus Aldridge More
LaMarcus Aldridge was one of the best first-round players in the NBA playoffs, but has yet to get things going in this series. When he is playing at his best, he is nearly unstoppable from mid-range and with his back to the bucket. The Blazers need to feed him the ball and play through him in the post. At the very least, it will force defenses to close down on him a bit, and Portland could play and inside out type of game. There is no way that Portland will win this series without Aldridge picking up his play.
3. Play with a High Level of Defensive Energy
The Spurs have been getting practically whatever they want on the offensive side of the basketball, and have been schooling the Blazers’ defense. Portland needs to turn things up on the defensive side of the basketball and play tough, smashmouth basketball against the aging Spurs. There isn’t a way to “stop” the Spurs’ offense, but at the very least the Blazers can force them to work hard for their baskets. It’s all going to be about wearing San Antonio’s aging stars down and trying to win the game in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the odds certainly aren’t looking all that good for the Trail Blazers. They are facing a deficit that no one has ever come back from, but they also do have a ton of talent on their roster that hasn’t been playing well. It isn’t likely that the Blazers will be able to make a comeback, but the three areas mentioned above are all going to be necessary to have a chance.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.