San Antonio wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

San Antonio wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 22nd
Game 2: Tuesday, April 25th
Game 3: Friday, April 28th
Game 4: Sunday, April 30th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 2nd
Game 6: Friday, May 5th

Spurs 93

(63-19, 29-12 away)

Kings 94

(44-38, 27-14 home)

    Coverage: KXTV

    7:00 PM ET, April 28, 2006

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 20 21 23 2993
    SAC 22 25 21 2694

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: T. Duncan 29 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 6 Blk

    Sacramento: M. Bibby 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl

    Kings return the favor, beat Spurs at the buzzer

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- If Kevin Martin had spared one instant to think about the obstacles in front of him, he would have withered before taking the biggest shot of his NBA career.

    Sacramento's skinny shooting guard simply didn't consider Tim Duncan's long arms, the dwindling clock and a potential 0-3 playoff deficit to the defending NBA champions. He just drove to the hoop and somehow scored the basket that saved the Kings.

    Martin tossed in a twisting, three-bounce, wrong-handed layup over Duncan as time expired, and the Kings got back into their first-round playoff series against San Antonio with a 94-93 victory in Game 3 Friday night, cutting the Spurs' lead to 2-1.

    Mike Bibby's pass to Martin on the Kings' final fast break led to an improbable finish on the second straight game in this series -- and it made an unlikely hero out of Martin, who had just 10 points and six rebounds in a game dominated by Duncan and the Kings' veteran starters until his clinching bucket.

    "The ball finally bounced our way," said Martin, who claimed he was simply trying to draw a foul on his remarkable drive to the hoop. "I knew once Mike gave me the ball, there were only 4 seconds left. I had to go to the rim. There was no choice. I had to go for it."

    This series already has more than its share of drama: The top-seeded Spurs won an overtime thriller in Game 2, with Brent Barry's game-tying regulation 3-pointer bouncing twice on the rim and backboard before falling through.

    "Now they know how we felt after that game," said Bonzi Wells, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds. "The ball was bouncing on the rim, and went in. Hopefully that's on their mind going into the next game."

    Game 4 is Sunday in Sacramento, with Game 5 back in San Antonio on Tuesday.

    Neither team led by more than four points in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Michael Finley hit a go-ahead 3-pointer for the Spurs with 41.1 seconds left, and Ron Artest turned the ball over with 27 seconds remaining in his return from a one-game suspension.

    The Spurs ran down the clock until the final seconds, and the Kings didn't foul despite a mere 3-second difference between the shot clock and the game clock. But Manu Ginobili capped a terrible game by losing the ball on a drive for his seventh turnover.

    "I just kind of lost it," Ginobili said. "It was the worst turnover of my career. I really don't know what happened. I'm just very upset right now. We had the game, and of course I let it go."

    Bibby, who had 25 points, rushed the ball to midcourt and fed Martin. He drove the lane and lofted a right-handed shot from the left side over Duncan, who blocked six shots in a dominant performance also featuring 29 points and 12 rebounds.

    The ball bounced delicately on the rim before falling through as the buzzer sounded, setting off pandemonium in Arco Arena.

    "I thought they blew the whistle and called a foul, so I didn't even look back at the ball," Martin said. "I went up with my right (hand). Actually, I might have thrown it up with both. I really don't know."

    Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "Great game. What goes around comes around, I guess."

    Artest had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, and Bibby had 25 points and eight assists. Wells and Bibby scored eight points apiece in the fourth quarter as the Kings survived a physical final period in a game featuring 48 fouls and 56 free throws.

    Artest also turned in a defensive gem on Ginobili after sitting out Game 2 for elbowing the Argentine forward in the head in Game 1, a 34-point Spurs victory.

    Finley scored 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers in the Spurs' latest outstanding performance by a reserve from their loaded bench.

    Duncan made a solid recovery from two sub-par efforts for the Spurs, but Ginobili and Tony Parker managed just 20 points on 7-of-21 shooting for the defending NBA champions.

    "We have to keep our composure and understand that they're going to have a lot of emotions (in Game 4)," Duncan said. "There are good things to learn from this game. We just lost on a crazy shot."

    Artest couldn't conceal his excitement about being back in uniform for his first home playoff game with the Kings: He grabbed the opening tip and drove straight to the hoop for a layup attempt, drawing a foul from Parker. He scored Sacramento's first six points and finished the first half with 13 points and eight rebounds.

    Sacramento led by 14 points in the third quarter before a 16-5 San Antonio run.

    Game notes

    Spurs C Rasho Nesterovic hit the first 3-pointer of his eight NBA seasons at the first-quarter buzzer. In Game 1, Spurs C Nazr Mohammed hit the second 3-pointer of his career. ... All four Maloof brothers, including principal Kings owners Joe and Gavin, watched the game together at courtside. The brothers stormed the court in celebration after Martin's basket.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 93 94
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 33-77 (.429)
    3PM-3PA 6-20 (.300) 3-14 (.214)
    FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 25-33 (.758)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-39 15-45
    Assists 18 16
    Turnovers 15 13
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 10 4
    Fast Break Points 13 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 24 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 4 14

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 29
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 6
    Mike Bibby Bibby
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0