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Gregg Popovich Credits Mavericks Series for Current Dominance in 2nd Round

PORTLAND, OR - MAY 10: Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with Manu Ginobili #20 and Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on May 10, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. The Spurs won the game 118-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Jim CavanContributor IMay 12, 2014

After watching the San Antonio Spurs take seven games to dispatch the Dallas Mavericks in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs, it was easy to see in the potent Portland Trail Blazers the potential for an epic upset.

Three convincing Spurs wins later, we’re left admitting—for roughly the 6,000th time in the Gregg Popovich-Tim Duncan era—we had these old warhorses figured wrong.

Here’s Popovich explaining during a Sunday media session:

That all sounds totally logical. And I’m not just saying that because of the elaborate Pop shrine I just put in the garage, which consists mainly of smoked meats and pictures of him not smiling.

The Spurs are squarely in the driver’s seat in their best-of-seven series, having made easy work of the hapless Blazers in each of their three meetings.

This, to put it lightly, does not bode well for Portland:

Portland is sometimes known colloquially as Rip City, so you knew this was bound to happen: a story titled "The night Rip City turned into R.I.P. City." Thank you, Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

I'm not sure anybody believes the Blazers can become the first team in NBA history to win a series after losing the first three. Especially not against these Spurs.

No, the Blazers had to have Game 3 if they were going to have any chance in this series. And everybody knew it.

But once again, they didn’t stand a chance.

The teams have played 144 minutes of basketball in this series. The Blazers have led for 33 seconds: a three-point lead for 16 seconds in the first quarter of Game 2, and a one-point lead for 17 seconds in the first quarter of Game 3.

In terms of darkness, that right there makes True Detective look like Air Bud.

If you’re Portland—and you know what, sometimes clichés exist for a reason—you have to take it one game at a time.

Playoff momentum is a fickle beast indeed, capable of turning on the quickest of heads. Even if their efforts are in nothing more than valiant vain, however, stealing a few from the Spurs will only bode well for Portland, young and upside-laden as it is.

For San Antonio, meanwhile, it’s a simple steady as she goes. The Blazers have had absolutely no answers for the swashbuckling savvy of Tony Parker—a puzzle no one, least of all the defensively limited Damian Lillard, appears even remotely capable of solving.

You might as well chalk that up to the Dallas series, too.

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