Spurs overcome Parker loss to beat Blazers, move on to West final

(The Sports Xchange) – The San Antonio shrugged off the loss of Tony Parker to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-82 and win their Western Conference semi-final series 4-1.

Parker left with a tight left hamstring early in the second quarter but the Spurs got timely contributions from Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who each scored 22 points. Green led the Spurs with nine rebounds, and Leonard had a game-high five steals. Tim Duncan added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Coach Gregg Popovich said he did not know the extent of Parker’s injury while Manu Ginobili stressed his importance.

“We need him back and healthy if we want to make the Finals,” Ginobili said.

Patty Mills, filling in for Parker, scored 18 points and made three steals. Mills was averaging 15 minutes and seven points a game in the playoffs as Parker’s backup. He played more than 25 minutes on Wednesday.

“You never want to see a guy go down, like Tony,” Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge said. “But I thought Patty played great.”

Leonard was assertive at both ends of the court all night.

“When he plays freely and takes what comes … catch it and shoot it, catch it and drive it, don’t think about it, then we get a game out of him like this,” Popovich said.

Leonard said circumstances dictated the way he played.

“Knowing Tony was out, I wanted to stay aggressive and still stay within the system,” he added.

Aldridge led Portland with 21 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 17 points and handed out 10 assists, but hit just seven of 18 shots from the floor.

San Antonio led 51-44 at halftime and doubled their halftime lead to 14 points after three quarters.

The Blazers were eliminated but can consider themselves to have had a largely successful season. Regarded as a marginal playoff contenders before the season, they were the fifth seeded team in the West.

“We got a taste of the playoffs, a taste of success,” coach Terry Stotts said. “That’s something we can build on.”

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