Depending on who you talk to with the San Antonio Spurs, Monday's Game 4 against the Utah Jazz is either the most important game of the series, or just another road test in which San Antonio wants to come out, play hard and let the chips fall where they may.
Here's the reality, though: Should the Spurs defeat Utah and complete the four-game sweep, they would likely buy themselves a week of rest, given the way the Memphis Grizzlies/Los Angeles Clippers series is going.
For a team that relies heavily on the triumvirate of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, that potential rest could play a large part as the Spurs look for another Western Conference title. And there are other perks to wrapping things up early.
"In this lockout season, we've hardly had any time to practice," said shooting guard Danny Green. "It would be good to be able to get some time in and work on some things. Monday is important. We want to come out and play as well as we can. Hopefully things go our way."
In previous seasons, San Antonio has been deadly efficient in closeout games. With the Spurs appearing to have as much or more depth than any team in the league, winning the series as soon as possible could give them a significant advantage as the Clippers and Grizzlies beat each other up.
"We know they're going to come out and give it all they have," Duncan said. "They have a lot of pride and it's going to be a tough close-out game, especially here in Utah. Whether we win the next one or it takes a game or two, we're about closing out, so we're going to play until it's done."
Saturday's win was the 111th career postseason victory for Gregg Popovich, which places him third all-time behind Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have played in 125 playoff games as teammates, the most among any active trio in the NBA.