That identity served them well Wednesday night. The Spurs lost their best player, guard Tony Parker, to a tight left hamstring, early in the second quarter. Instead of folding, SAN ANTONIO summoned timely contributions from other players and defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 104-82 to win their Western Conference semifinal series four games to one.
Forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Danny Green scored 22 points apiece for the Spurs, combining to convert seven of 10 3-point shots. Green led the Spurs with nine rebounds, and Leonard made a game-high five steals.
Green struggled before Wednesday, scoring 22 points in the first four games of the series.
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 21 points, and he grabbed 10 rebounds. Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 17 points and handed out 10 assists, but he hit just seven of 18 shots from the floor.
Leonard was largely responsible for the Spurs' success without Parker in the half, scoring nine points in the second quarter on three 3-point baskets. He didn't miss a long-range attempt in the period.
Portland managed to neutralize Parker in the first quarter before he was injured. Coach Terry Stotts assigned the 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum to guard the 6-2 Parker for the second straight game. Parker attempted only two shots, missing both.
Batum, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday, was primarily responsible for limiting Parker to 14 points when the Blazers won game 4 on Monday. Parker averaged 26 points in the first three games of the series before Batum became the primary defender against him.
NOTES: Portland G Mo Williams missed his third straight game with a groin strain. Williams was the Trail Blazers' top backcourt reserve, averaging 9.7 points a game. ... Spurs F/C Tim Duncan played in his 223rd playoff games. He ranks fourth in league history in playoff appearances after passing Los Angeles Lakers G Kobe Bryant last week. The three who rank ahead of Duncan also played most, or part, of their careers with the Lakers -- Oklahoma City Thunder G Derek Fisher (252), retired F Robert Horry (244) and former C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237). ... Duncan, 38, averaged only 29 minutes a game during the regular season. He is averaging 34 minutes in the playoffs. ... The Trail Blazers were slow starters in the playoffs. They outscored their opponents in the first quarter in only two of 11 games.