With the bench maintaining the lead, it was up to a more rested Lillard to finish the Spurs off. Scoring from a variety of angles around the basket, with or without contact, Lillard had nine points in the fourth quarter to put the game away. The lead never dropped below double digits. Popovich conceded with 6:47 to play and his team down 19, going deep into his bench. Neither Parker nor Tim Duncan played in the final period.
"The way the game was going, the flow, it just didn't happen," Popovich explained.
And so the series heads back to San Antonio for Wednesday's Game 5, with Portland in need of another surprise to play again at home on Friday. But now the Blazers can dream of repeating their 2003 comeback against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, when they forced Game 7 after falling behind 3-0, and perhaps even becoming the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-0 hole. "Why not us?" has been Batum's mantra since the end of Game 3.
"Someone has to make history at some point," Matthews told reporters this time around.
It won't be easy, but it can be done. After all, the Spurs are beatable.
"We did what we needed to do, and we're looking forward to going to San Antonio to keep competing and keep playing our basketball," Stotts said. "It was a good game, but we still have another few to go."