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WATCH: Must-win situation for the Blazers

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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.

"Down 2-1, Dallas really made it a series. They played great basketball - everybody was playing very well on that team and they made it hard on us," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "In Game 7 you have to show up because if you don't the season's over. I think we learned from it and so far, we're playing good."

Boris Diaw also pointed to the Dallas series, which San Antonio won with a 119-96 victory in the deciding Game 7.

"We had our back against the wall and we had to play good," he said. "We've been playing the same way since then - so probably a turning point for us."

On Monday night the Spurs will try to dispatch the Trail 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.

MORE HERE: trailblazers.com

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