The intensity and focus that has the Spurs rolling 3-0 over Portland in the Western Conference semifinals can be traced to their Game 3 loss to Dallas in the first round.
Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Mavericks went up 2-1. But San Antonio simply was not going to concede the opening round after last season's disappointing Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat for the NBA title.
Both Tony Parker and Boris Diaw pointed to that Dallas series, which San Antonio won with a 119-96 victory in the deciding Game 7, as the team's motivation against the Trail Blazers.
On Monday night the Spurs will try to dispatch the Blazers in four games — and hopefully get some rest before the conference finals against the winner of the other semifinal between Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers.