Finley’s Jumper Caps Fine Finish
San Antonio 90, Sacramento 89
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 17 (Ticker) -- A duel between Tim Duncan and Shareef Abdur-Rahim ultimately was settled by Michael Finley.
Finley sank an 18-footer with 2.5 seconds remaining to cap a frenetic fourth quarter and give the San Antonio Spurs a wild 90-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
"As a team and a franchise the Spurs have been in these kinds of situations many times," Finley said. "I have been in these situations before throughout my career. When you have been there in those kinds of situations, you have confidence (that) nine times out of 10 you will succeed."
"We played very well and made plays right down to the last possession," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They (Spurs) just kept playing hard and that's why they are the champs. ... We made big play after big play; we just came up short on the last one."
Early in the fourth quarter, Duncan scored eight points in less than 90 seconds, all while being defended by the smaller Abdur-Rahim. Baskets by Tony Parker and Finley opened San Antonio's lead to 83-74 with 5:28 to go.
"I just had to do something," said Duncan, who had 24 points and 14 rebounds. "I had to play through my ups and downs. I tried to redeem myself and I finally had some shots go down there in the stretch. ... I had a few blocks there in the fourth quarter and that kind of got me going a little bit."
Brad Miller's jumper ended Sacramento's basket drought of more than six minutes before Abdur-Rahim went to work on the slower Duncan. He beat him for a pair of mid-range jumpers before Mike Bibby's 3-pointer tied it, 85-85, with 2:23 to play.
"Of course I would rather have had the win," said Abdur-Rahim, who scored a season-high 25 points. "Judging the outcome of the game, I wouldn't consider this my best game. We played well, but I don't know if it matters how tough we play them if we don't win the game."
Duncan split a pair of free throws at the 1:25 mark, but Bibby gave the Kings an 87-86 lead with a 20-footer 14 seconds later.
Finley missed a jumper, but Duncan tipped it in for an 89-88 edge with 52 seconds to play. He rebounded Bibby's miss but had his shot smothered at the other end, giving the Kings a chance to take the lead.
Sacramento did just that with 7.6 seconds left on a spin move out of the low post by Bonzi Wells, whose 3-pointer at the buzzer beat Minnesota six days ago.
San Antonio called timeout and put the ball in the hands of Parker, who had 25 points and 12 assists and tortured Sacramento with dribble penetration. He got into the lane and kicked a pass to Finley, whose jumper from just off the right elbow was true.
"I could have forced it, but I trust my teammates," Parker said. "I trust Mike and I was able to find him, and he knocked down a big shot."
"Coming out of the timeout it was designed for Tony to make something happen," Finley said. "With the caliber of point guard that Tony is, he created a shot for me and I was able to knock it down."
Bibby fired a desperation 3-pointer over a leaping Duncan from well above the top of the arc that hit the back rim and bounded away as time expired. He fired his headband into the stands in disgust.
"Tim Duncan's defense down the stretch was great," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Mike Bibby singlehandedly was keeping them in the game and Tim's defense made the last shot tough on Bibby."
Finley scored 16 points for the Spurs (19-4), who have won nine of their last 10 games. He again picked up the slack for injured All-Star guard Manu Ginobili.
Bibby scored 21 points, Miller had 13 and 13 rebounds and Wells 11 and 11 for the Kings, who have lost four straight meetings with the Spurs.
The Kings trailed 32-18 early in the second quarter but rallied behind Abdur-Rahim and Peja Stojakovic for a 44-43 halftime lead. Abdur-Rahim scored 10 points in the third period, but the Spurs regained a 71-70 edge entering the final 12 minutes.
"Games that come down to the wire are good for us," Parker said. "It is good to know what will happen with new teammates in different situations and how they react to them. It is good to know that we can come through in situations like tonight."