EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Ticker) -- Steve Kerr left the New Jersey Nets with an awful feeling in their stomachs.

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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 Finals 2003.

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 lot."

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 lead.

"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
NBAE/Getty Images
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."

Tim Duncan 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 shoulders."

"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 done."

Richard Jefferson 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 awesome."

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 15-7.

"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 next quarter."

Unlike Wednesday, Duncan got a little help from his friends. Malik Rose 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.