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article imageOp-Ed: NBA — Spurs beat Blazers, clinch West's top playoff seed

By Layne Weiss     Apr 24, 2012 in Sports
San Antonio - The San Antonio Spurs are officially the #1 seed in the Western Conference again, The Washington Post reports. They beat the Portland Trail Blazers 124-89 Monday to clinch the top spot.
This is the Spurs 8th straight win in a row. They have two games left in the regular season, but all they are and should be focused on at this point is keeping their big 3, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili healthy for the post season. Last year, the 8th seeded Grizzlies eliminated the top seeded Spurs in the 1st round of the Western Conference playoffs.
"It's great to be in the situation, but as we showed last year, someone can sneak up and take you out easily," Tim Duncan, who had 18 points Monday, said. "Hopefully we get a much better effort this year and do a much better job this year this year, and we stay away from those injuries."
This is the first time since 2008 that the Spurs' big 3 have all been healthy, so it is understandable why Duncan might have reservations.
Fox Sports
reports that Wesley Matthews scored 24 points for the Blazers who lost their 6th in a row.
J.J Hickson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Raymond Felton had 13.
"If we knew we were going to the playoffs, of course, we're going to keep playing," Wesley Matthews said. "But now, shorthanded, nine players, I'm going to say I'm looking forward to not playing basketball."
This is the Trail Blazers first season out of the playoffs in 4 years, USA Today reports.
On the Spurs side, Danny green had 18, Tony Parker had 13, and Stephen Jackson and Gary Neal both had 12.
The Spurs could know their first round opponent as early as Tuesday as Phoenix plays Utah to determine the 8th seed, The Washington Post reports.
During the 4th quarter the Spurs' Gary Neal was injured from a collision with the Blazers' Kurt Thomas, but Spurs' coach Greg Popovich says Neal's x-rays were negative.
According to the LA Times, the Spurs will most likely rest Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili until the Playoffs.
When the Spurs are totally healthy, they're an unstoppable force. Last season, their age showed against the much younger, much hungrier, Memphis Grizzlies. Both the Jazz and Suns have proven they are ready for a fight, but Tim Duncan and his Spurs are determined to not be manhandled and humiliated again.
Once again, the Spurs find themselves in a spot they are quite familiar with, the top of the mountain. How much do the Jazz and/or Suns want to knock them off? We'll find out soon.
The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, April 28th.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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