The Portland Trail Blazers avoided a second-round sweep by beating the San Antonio Spurs 103-92 in Monday's Game 4 at the Moda Center. The Spurs' series lead is now down to 3-1.
Portland was led by a balanced effort from three of the starting five. Damian Lillard scored a game-high 25 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 19. And Nicolas Batum filled up the box score with 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
Those three played with the kind of energy and intensity you'd expect from the younger team, and their teammates followed their example on the way to the victory.
The Spurs were led by Tony Parker, who scored 14 points. Tim Duncan was held to 12 points.
Everyone else struggled to get any kind of traction on offense, as the Spurs shot 44.3 percent from the field overall and just 3-of-18 from three-point range.
Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, Point Guard
For the first time in this series, Parker was thoroughly outplayed by Lillard. On both ends of the floor, the younger point guard appeared to have the upper hand.
Parker was able to get a few points on Lillard, but didn't do much of anything else, as he finished with only one assist and zero rebounds.
With the series heading back to San Antonio, Parker will need to refocus and turn this matchup back in the Spurs' favor if they're going to close out in Game 5.
Tim Duncan, Power Forward
Duncan's 12 points and nine rebounds came very quietly, as he was outperformed by the frontcourt of the Blazers that included Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson.
The days when Duncan could completely control a game on both offense and defense may be gone, but he's still capable of making an impact, and he didn't do that.
He doesn't have to outperform Aldridge, but San Antonio needs some kind of counter inside.
Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward
Like Parker, Leonard was clearly outplayed in his individual matchup for the first time in the series. Everything he did, Batum did a little better.
He finished the game with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but he wasn't able to prevent Batum from posting better numbers in each of those categories.
Tiago Splitter, Center
Splitter simply looked out of his league against Lopez and Aldridge. Lopez bullied him on the boards, while Aldridge took it to him in post-ups.
A bigger effort than Splitter's six points and three rebounds will be important if San Antonio is going to end the series in Game 5.
Danny Green, Shooting Guard
Green certainly tried to put his imprint on this game, but it probably wasn't the one he wanted.
He put up 11 shots but only made four on the way to his nine points, most of which came in garbage time.
Getting his three-point shot on track would certainly be nice for the Spurs if they're going to make it as far into the postseason as they did last season.
Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard
In what has already been a tough series for Ginobili, this may be rock bottom. He shot just 1-of-6 from the field for two points and did almost nothing to help his team win.
Ginobili bricks open 3. cut/paste— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 13, 2014
Getting the third member of San Antonio's Big Three going isn't just important in this series, but crucial if the Spurs move on and face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City Thunder.
Those are two extremely explosive teams, and San Antonio will need its top weapons firing off to keep pace.
Despite the struggles of Ginobili and, to a lesser extent, Marco Belinelli, the Spurs bench was still solid thanks to the efforts of Boris Diaw and Patty Mills.
Diaw went 6-of-8 from the field on the way to 12 points but had a terrible time trying to defend Aldridge in stretches.
Mills also hit double figures, with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Key Player Grades: Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward
With his team facing elimination, Aldridge came up with perhaps his most effective effort of the series.
He didn't try too hard to get going from mid-range, but instead established himself in the low post. He was especially aggressive against the defense of the smaller Diaw.
Boris Diaw is not big enough to defend @aldridge_12 without help— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) May 13, 2014
Now, he'll have to bring the same energy and commitment to getting inside to a road atmosphere.
Damian Lillard, Point Guard
Portland's huge win was spearheaded by Lillard, who looked like the best player on the floor for the majority of the game.
He showed the ability to beat his man off the dribble and either finish at the rim or hit mid- to long-range pull-up jumpers.
Lillard with the dunk in early offense. https://t.co/WZGgHgICyV— RealGM (@RealGM) May 13, 2014
Parker, Mills and anyone else San Antonio threw at him had no shot against the aggressive play of Lillard.
Nicolas Batum, Small Forward
Batum had a monster game. So much so, you could argue his impact was bigger than that of Lillard or Aldridge.
He posted the game high in both rebounds and assists in his near triple-double and neutralized Leonard, who's typically an X-factor for San Antonio.
Batum's ability to play point forward takes a ton of pressure off Lillard, allowing him to become a scorer off the ball.
He also spent some time defending Parker, a curveball from Terry Stotts that seemed to pay off.
Wesley Matthews, Shooting Guard
Matthews was the one starter for Portland who you could really say had a bad game—at least offensively.
He went 4-of-14 from the field for 10 points but still played his typically solid defense against the wings of the Spurs. His efforts contributed to the struggles of Green, Ginobili and Belinelli.
He also grabbed eight rebounds.
Robin Lopez, Center
Lopez may have struggled from the field, shooting 4-of-12 for nine points, but he was a beast on the boards for the Blazers.
Robin Lopez has been a nasty, wild-haired animal on the glass tonight. Ten rebounds, feels like double.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 13, 2014
He grabbed six offensive and six defensive rebounds and ferociously attacked every missed shot and loose ball.
His style and physicality are perfect complements to the finesse of Aldridge.
Will Barton, Shooting Guard
With Mo Williams out because of a groin injury, Barton assumed the role of sixth man and was excellent.
Stotts always brings up Ginobili when talking about Will Barton.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) May 13, 2014
He was a serious offensive boost off the bench, shooting 7-of-13 from the field on the way to 17 points. He showed explosive ability as a slasher and hit a three as well.
If he has another outing like this, Portland may not miss Williams too much.
Barton's bench mate, Thomas Robinson, had a good night as well. The two were in the game together for all but the last few minutes, and both brought tons of energy.
Robinson finished with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, but his impact mainly came from hustle plays that don't show up in the box score.
The only other Blazer to play more than one minute off the bench was rookie C.J. McCollum, who went 0-of-4 from the field for zero points.
The Spurs could really use a breakout game from Ginobili in the potential series-ending game. In a few words, he's been off in this round.
On the other end, the Blazers will need to bring the same level of energy and try to use their youth and explosiveness to their advantage again.
"Someone has to make history at some point." Wesley Matthews on no team ever digging out of 3-0 deficit— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 13, 2014
Game 5 is set for Wednesday, May 14, at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.