San Antonio wins series 4-2 (Game 4 of 6)

San Antonio wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 19th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 21st
Game 3: Friday, May 23rd
Game 4: Sunday, May 25th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 27th
Game 6: Thursday, May 29th

Spurs 102

(60-22, 27-14 away)

Mavericks 95

(60-22, 33-8 home)

    7:30 PM ET, May 25, 2003

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 21 26 30 25102
    DAL 24 28 18 2595

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 21 Pts, 20 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

    Dal: M. Finley 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast

    Mavs hang tough, but Spurs finish strong

    DALLAS (AP) -- A combination of small ball, guts and resiliency weren't enough to defeat the San Antonio Spurs. Almost, but not quite.

    Emanuel Ginobili

    AP Photo/Donna McWilliam

    Manu Ginobili drives to the basket with the no-fear attitude of Allen Iverson.

    Tony Parker had another impressive offensive performance, Manu Ginobili was stunning at both ends of the court and Tim Duncan recovered from a slow start to lead the Spurs to a 102-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

    San Antonio took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 5 set for Tuesday night.

    The Mavericks kept the game interesting and close throughout. But in the end, the absence of Dirk Nowitzki due to a sprained knee ligament was too much to overcome.

    "We knew they were going to use the circumstances to give them energy, and they made a valiant effort tonight -- which is what we expected,'' San Antonio's Bruce Bowen said.

    Parker scored 25 points, Ginobili had a career playoff-high 21 and Duncan -- who had only eight points at halftime -- added 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists for the Spurs, who overcame an emotional crowd and a desperate effort from the Mavericks.

    Michael Finley and Steve Nash scored 25 apiece and Nick Van Exel added 22 for the Mavericks, whose two comeback attempts in the fourth quarter both fell short.

    San Antonio is now one victory away from advancing to the NBA Finals to play the New Jersey Nets beginning June 4.

    "New Jersey finished Detroit and is getting some rest, so we need some rest, too. We've got some old guys on this team,'' Parker said.

    With Nowitzki and two other centers injured, the Mavericks had no choice but to go with a small lineup and try to beat San Antonio the same way Phoenix did twice in the first round -- collapsing on Duncan on defense, and using dribble penetration plays and 3-point shooting on offense.

    It worked for a while, but not for 48 minutes.

    But if the Spurs' duo of foreign-born youngsters -- Parker and Ginobili -- hadn't carried the offense for long stretches, it might have produced a very unlikely upset.

    "I thought we had a shot,'' Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "I thought we were going to find a way to win, but evidently we got their attention with that first game in San Antonio.''

    After San Antonio went ahead 89-80 with a 7-0 run, Dallas came back and pulled within two on a 3-pointer by Raef LaFrentz with 3:12 left. Malik Rose answered with a dunk, and LaFrentz airballed 3-pointer on his final shot attempt of the night. He fouled out less than a minute later.

    Duncan hit one of two shots from the line, Ginobili stole the ball from Walt Williams and Rose scored inside with 2 seconds left on the shot clock for a 96-89 lead with 1:40 left.

    Two misses by Van Exel were followed by an offensive foul on Duncan, sending the game into the final minute with San Antonio holding a 96-89 lead.

    The Mavs got no closer than five the rest of the way.

    "We had a little deeper rotation and wore them down,'' Rose said. "They played hard and did all they could. They've got heart, but in the end we wore them down.''

    Nelson added Van Exel and Williams to the starting lineup in place of Nowitzki and Raja Bell, and assigned Finley the task of defending the speedy Parker.

    The Mavericks attempted 31 3-pointers and made 12, going only 3-for-11 in the second half.

    From the looks of things in the first couple of minutes, it appeared the Mavs might break the record for 3-point attempts. Their first two baskets were 3s by Nash and Van Exel, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called a timeout in frustration just 1:08 in.

    But when the Spurs came back and displayed poor shot selection, Popovich substituted Speedy Claxton, Rose and Ginobili before the game was even 3 minutes old.

    Finley hit a jumper at the first-quarter buzzer to give Dallas a 24-21 lead, then scored Dallas' first five points of the second quarter. Ginobili kept the Spurs close in the second quarter, scoring 12 points -- including a vicious reverse dunk that even had the Dallas fans gasping.

    "I came out knowing I had to do more. I had to take a couple more shots and get to the basket. When I made my first couple of shots, my confidence grew,'' Ginobili said.

    The Mavericks led 52-47 at intermission, and they continued to play from ahead in the third with the same strategy -- driving and kicking or driving and hitting a short pull-up jumper on offense; double- and triple-teaming Duncan on defense.

    It worked for a majority of the quarter, but a steal by Stephen Jackson changed things. After swiping the ball from LaFrentz, Jackson dribbled out to the 3-point line, saw that no one was coming to defend him and calmly drained the 3.

    Parker followed with a floater and a jumper to put San Antonio ahead for good, 67-66, and Ginobili came flying across the lane to tip in a missed shot with 0.7 seconds left to extend the run to 22-6 and give San Antonio a 77-70 lead entering the fourth.

    Jackson had the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to up the Spurs' lead to 81-70, making things look extra bleak for the home team. But the Mavericks weren't finished, as Nash scored seven of the next nine Dallas points to cut the deficit to 82-80 with 8:31 left.

    Game notes

    The start of the game was delayed by about 30 minutes after the arena was evacuated because of a small grease fire in a kitchen. ... Nowitzki, Shawn Bradley and Evan Eschmeyer watched from the bench in street clothes. ... Bell picked up a technical in the first half for swinging his elbow at Parker's face. ... Ginobili tied his career playoff-high of 17 by halftime. ... Hall of Famer Bill Russell attended the game and received a standing ovation when he was shown on the main videoboard.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 95
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 37-85 (.435)
    3PM-3PA 6-23 (.261) 12-31 (.387)
    FTM-FTA 26-31 (.839) 9-13 (.692)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-49 14-40
    Assists 19 15
    Turnovers 12 13
    Steals 11 5
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 3 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 22 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 21
    Reb: 20
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 4
    Michael Finley Finley
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0