SAN ANTONIO, May 3 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
returned and the San
Antonio Spurs are headed back to the Western Conference
Duncan collected 23 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks as
the Spurs used stifling defense in the first half to coast to a
101-78 rout of the Seattle SuperSonics in Game Five of their
Western Conference first-round series.
NBA TV highlights from|
Budget Fastbreak: Radmanovic
San Antonio will visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in the
opener of the conference semifinals. It is the fourth time in
the last five years the Spurs have advanced to the second round
and Duncan improved to 4-0 in first-round series -- he missed
the 2000 series with Phoenix with a torn left lateral meniscus.
Duncan, who missed Game Four due to his father's death, scored
six points and rookie Tony Parker
added five as San Antonio
jumped out to an 11-2 lead. Seattle's offense sputtered
throughout and the Sonics did not reach double figures until a
layup by Gary Payton
with just three seconds left in the opening
quarter got them within 25-10.
Malik Rose recorded a solid double-double of 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.|
D. Clarke Evans
"We came out from the get go," Duncan said. "We were hyped up
and excited to be here. We jumped on them early and put them
on their heels."
Duncan scored seven points in a 16-5 spurt to close the half as
San Antonio built a 55-26 halftime cushion. Seattle's 10 points
in the first quarter and 26 points at halftime were team playoff
Payton scored 13 points in the first half, equaling the output
of his teammates. Seattle had just five baskets in the first
quarter and six in the second as it shot just under 30 percent
(11-of-37) in the first 24 minutes.
"In the first quarter, we just missed shots and they executed,"
Payton said. "We didn't make shots and that was that."
scored 18 points and Parker finished with 15 for San
Antonio, which placed five players in double figures. The Spurs
held a commanding 52-30 edge in points in the paint.
San Antonio again played without starting center David
, who was out for the fourth straight game with a
lower back sprain. Robinson had indicated that his return
was possible but the team determined that his health was still
For Duncan, it was an emotional return after a grueling week.
His father, William, passed away on Monday and Duncan attended
the funeral in the Virgin Islands on Thursday.
"It's been a whirlwind," Duncan said. "It's been a tough couple
of days. That's an understatement. I've had great support from
my family and my friends."
"When he steps on the court, he concentrates on basketball,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nothing throws him off, he's a
stoic character, but I bet he knows what he's feeling."
Rose tried to step it up in Duncan's absence in Game Four and
poured in playoff career highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds.
He responded with another strong game with Robinson out and made
8-of-14 shots and grabbed 13 rebounds.
scored 14 points and led the Spurs with six assists.
Parker drilled three 3-pointers and was able to fend off the defense
by Payton by not turning the ball over. San Antonio committed just
seven turnovers and held a 53-39 edge on the glass.
The crowd responded to Duncan's presence with a huge ovation
and San Antonio responded. The fans later chanted "MVP" when
Duncan exited in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think there should be any doubt who the Most Valuable
Player in the league should be," Spurs guard Antonio Daniels
"I've said that game in and game out. We'll just have to see what
Payton led Seattle with 23 points but made just 8-of-26 shots.
was the only other Sonic in double figures with 12
as Seattle shot 34 percent (29-of-85) and never was a factor.
The Sonics got a minimal contribution from its frontcourt tandem
of Desmond Mason
and Vladimir Radmanovic
. Mason made just 4-of-13
shots for nine points and Radmanovic made 3-of-12 for seven after
scoring 23 in Game Four.
"I thought the first quarter would be very important," Seattle
coach Nate McMillan said. "I knew the (Spurs) would be playing
on emotion. It was do-or-die and they got the crowd into it."
San Antonio will be trying to avenge a four-game sweep by the
Lakers in last season's conference finals. The Spurs lost three
of four meetings with Los Angeles in the regular season.