EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Ticker) -- Steve Kerr
New Jersey Nets
with an awful feeling in their stomachs.
NBA TV highlights from|
Dunk of the Night:
Speed Stick Never Quits Highlight:
The ageless guard struck again, coming on late to shoot down the
Nets as the San Antonio Spurs moved within one win of their
second title with a 93-83 victory in Game 5 of NBA
Expected to retire at the end of the season, the 37-year-old
Kerr showed the championship experience he flashed in the
Western Conference Finals.
"More than anything, I have the experience of playing for 15
years, to not get too nervous," Kerr said. "I've done this a
After coming on for the first time for foul-plagued Manu Ginobili
in the fourth quarter, Kerr had a steal and buried a
three-pointer and jumper just over a minute apart, stopping a surge
by the Nets and making coach Gregg Popovich
look like a genius.
After San Antonio's awful shooting in Game 4, Popovich
sneered at a reporter who questioned why he did not use Kerr.
But in going to the veteran, he is going home with a 3-2 series
"Steve was fantastic," Popovich said. "We got a little bit of
foul trouble there, and we put Steve out in a couple of
situations where they have to make a couple decisions,
double-teaming-wise. He's the consummate pro."
Manu Ginobili soars for the jam.|
Jesse D. Garrabrant
Kerr scored six points, all in the final 3:02. He has made a
habit of wielding the dagger on Friday the 13th, also shooting
down the Utah Jazz
exactly six years ago with a series-winning
jumper for the Chicago Bulls
"I've been there many times and I've gotten over that
nervousness," said Kerr, the all-time leader in three-point
percentage. "I'm at a point in my career now where I just
understand -- just shoot if you're open. If you miss, you miss,
but you just let it fly."
had another stellar game with 29 points, 17 rebounds
and four blocks for the Spurs, who cashed in down the stretch on
three turnovers by ailing Nets forward Kenyon Martin
A stomach bug forced Martin to miss workouts Thursday and
Friday. He tried to play through it but had his worst game of
the series, totaling just four points and committing eight
turnovers while encountering foul trouble.
"It was just a bad game at the wrong time," Martin said. "I had
a couple of turnovers and missed easy baskets. I put it on my
"He's human," Kidd said. "That doesn't mean we can't go out
there and compete and pick up the slack."
Playing the entire game, Jason Kidd
scored 14 of his 29 points
in the third quarter, when the Nets briefly grabbed the lead.
The seesaw series is heavily tilted in favor of the Spurs, who
host the next two games. They can experience the "Joy of Six"
for the fourth time in this postseason with a win on Sunday at
the SBC Center having already won their series over the Mavericks and Lakers in six games.
"The rims always look a little bigger at home," said Spurs
center David Robinson
, who will be trying to close out his
career with a championship.
"It's a tough pill to swallow," said Nets coach Byron Scott
perhaps feeling some stomach pain of his own. "We knew this was
a golden opportunity for us, and we just didn't get the job
scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth
quarter, including a drive that drew a foul and cut the deficit
to 78-76 with 4:31 to play. But he missed the free throw,
Duncan made two at the other end and Kerr emerged, slapping away
the ball from Martin.
"He loves going middle, and so I just anticipated it and got my
hand on the ball," Kerr said.
After a timeout, Kerr took a pass from a double-teamed Duncan
and sank a three-pointer for an 83-76 advantage. On the next
possession, Ginobili stole a bad pass by Martin and cruised in
for a layup with 2:42 left.
Jefferson scored again, but Kerr made a 17-footer off the
dribble at the 1:41 mark. He later ran down a long offensive
rebound, helping kill the clock, and added a free throw.
"He's the definition of a veteran," Duncan said. "The guy is
always ready to go. He doesn't play for games in a row and
then his number is called and he's always ready. He knows how
to play the game. And as you see, he shoots the ball
incredibly. That guy is amazing."
"I've got the greatest job in the world," Kerr said. "I come
in, I play like six minutes, I make a couple shots and then I
come do interviews in the interview room," Kerr said. "It's
With a timely zone defense and strong finishes to all four
quarters, the Spurs are on the verge of finishing off the Nets.
They closed out each period with runs of 10-4, 7-0, 13-3 and
"I don't know why we were able to finish them," Duncan said.
"The only worry is why we gave them back at the beginning of the
Unlike Wednesday, Duncan got a little help from his friends.
and Tony Parker
scored 14 points each and Ginobili
added 12. The trio combined to shoot 4-of-31 in Game 4.
In the third quarter, the Spurs again went to the zone that
worked so well the previous period. Kidd simply shot over it,
drilling a jumper and two three-pointers. His two foul shots gave
the Nets a 54-53 lead with 3:47 remaining.
"Anytime you see a zone and make a couple of shots, they will
get out of it," Kidd said.
But for the third time in the game, San Antonio closed the
quarter with a rush. A 13-3 surge was sparked by Parker, who
made a pair of jumpers to open a 66-57 bulge.
Kidd came out gunning, making his first four shots as the Nets
bolted to a 14-9 lead. That didn't last long as Martin took a
seat, Jefferson was hit with a technical and the Spurs slowed
the tempo, taking a 19-18 lead into the second quarter.
San Antonio sprung its zone for the third time in the series and
suffocated New Jersey as it built a 29-21 lead midway through
the second period. During the surge, the Nets struggled simply
to get off a shot. They committed three turnovers, one of which
Ginobili turned into a soaring one-handed breakaway dunk.
Five quick points by Jefferson cut the deficit to 35-34 with
1:12 to go, but Duncan made two free throws and a buzzer-beating
baseline jumper around a three-pointer by Parker to close the half
and rebuild the lead to 42-34.