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Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

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Spurs advance to Western Conference final after defeating Blazers

AFP

Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs leaps to the hoop to score against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of their Western Conference semi-finals during the NBA Playoffs, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on May 14, 2014Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs leaps to the hoop to score against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of their Western Conference semi-finals during the NBA Playoffs, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on May 14, 2014

Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs leaps to the hoop to score against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of their Western Conference semi-finals during the NBA Playoffs, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on May 14, 2014Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs leaps to the hoop to score against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of their Western Conference semi-finals during the NBA Playoffs, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on May 14, 2014

Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and seven rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference final with a dominating 104-82 win over Portland.

Danny Green on Wednesday scored 22 points and Tim Duncan added 16 points with eight rebounds to help the Spurs win the series over the Trail Blazers four games to one and reach their third straight conference final.

Duncan said the Spurs are starting to come together at the right time.

"We got to the point now where we understand how we need to play for a longer period of time," Duncan said.

The win in front of a crowd of 18,581 may have come at a cost as San Antonio's all-star guard Tony Parker left midway through the first quarter with tightness in his left hamstring and did not return.

Duncan said after the game that he doesn't think it is a serious injury.

"It was more a precaution than anything," Duncan said. "They just don't want to get him any more hurt. They will check it out tomorrow."

The Spurs won by an average of 21 points in their three home wins in the series and await the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Oklahoma City leads that matchup 3-2 with game six scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles.

LaMarcus Aldridge paced Portland's attack with 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Damian Lillard tallied a 17-point, 10-assist double-double in the loss.

San Antonio had a chance to sweep on Monday, but Portland pulled out a 103-92 victory.

"We ran out of energy in our last game," said Duncan. "We had better focus this game and we used our home court to our advantage."

Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he told his charges not to hang their heads just because they ended the 2013-14 season with a loss.

"We had a special year," Stotts said. "Every one of our starters had career years.

"One thing about losing in the playoffs you end on a loss, but we got a taste of the playoffs. We got a taste of success and something we can build on for next season."

Date created : 2014-05-15