“I barely played in April,” Parker said. “I was joking with Pop if I was still with the Spurs.”
The break has paid off.
“He’s been the engine for us,” Popovich said. “He started out really well tonight. He made shots, he involved everybody else. He was playing great D at the other end. He’s really playing a whole complete game.”
The Spurs led by as many as 23 points in the first half, building a big early lead just as they had in the first two games of the series in San Antonio.
“I think it just happened,” Parker said of the third straight game with a big jump on Portland. “We just wanted to come in and have a good start, take care of the ball and play good defense like we did at home.”
The teams meet again on Monday night at the Moda Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Portland, which pulled within eight points in the third quarter but couldn’t get any closer. The Blazers were hurt by 15 turnovers and only six points from their bench.
“They’re just persistent,” Aldridge said. “They play championship basketball and that’s what we have to get to.”
No NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series. In 2003, the Blazers rebounded with three wins after dropping the first three against Dallas, but ultimately lost the first-round series’ deciding game.
The winner of the series goes on to meet the winner of the conference semifinal between Oklahoma City and the Clippers. The Thunder lead that series 2-1.
San Antonio has dominated this one.