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Spurs clinch No.1 seed in the West


PhilBoxing.com





SO much for the suspense.

For the second consecutive year, the San Antonio Spurs will head into the NBA playoffs as the No.1 seed in the Western Conference, a feat they secured by clobbering the Portland TrailBlazers, 124-89, Monday night at the AT@T Center in San Antonio,Texas.

With their 8th straight win, the Spurs improved to 48-16, two games over No.2 seed the 46-18 Oklahoma City Thunder. Although Oklahoma and San Antonio could still finish the 66-game regular season with an identical 48-18 record, the Spurs still keep the No.1 seed because they own the tiebreaker.

With homecourt advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs on the line, the Spurs went right down to business. They led by as many as 17 points in the opening quarter and finished the game with an eye-popping 59.3 percent shooting clip (48-of-81 field goals), including 12-of-22 from 3-point range.

Tim Duncan and Danny Green lit up the Spurs offense with 18 points each while Tony Parker had 13 and six assists. Stephen Jackson, George Neal and James Anderson pumped in a combined 35 points.

The Spurs also manhandled the Blazers off the boards, 47-38, and they dominated the assists department, 34-19.
San Antonio was a little more careless with the ball with 16 turnovers against Portland's 14 but the Spurs made up for it with 11 steals and eight blocked shots.

Wesley Matthews led the vanquished Blazers with 24 points. But Portland, which lost eight of their last nine games, shot poorly yet again -- this time making only 37-of-96 field goals (38.5 percent). The Blazers missed 10 of their 16 3-point shots and they went to the free throw line only 11 times, converting nine.

"We gave up three 30-point quarters. Anytime you get 34 assists, that's a big number. It didn't look pretty, and we didn't pay attention to detail, which led to San Atoniio's 12 3s," said Portland interim head coach Kaleb Canales.

The No.1 seed in the West last year, the Spurs were unceremoniously kncked out of the first round of the playoffs by the suprisingly good and then No.8 seeded Memphis Grizzlies. That nightmare wasn't lost on Spurs team captain Tim Duncan.

"It's great to have No.1, but it doesn't mean anything. It's great to have homecourt advantage and it's great to be in that situation, but as we showed last year somebody can sneak up and take you out just as easily. We're glad to have it. We will be prepared for our first=round opponent. Hopefully we'll get a much better effort," Duncan said. (Juleene Aderhold)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Juleene Janell Aderhold.


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