SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 5 (Ticker) -- While it may have taken
longer than expected, the San Antonio Spurs are back where they
Tony Parker scored 31 points as the Spurs advanced to the
Western Conference semifinals with a 105-83 victory over the
Sacramento Kings in Game Six of their tightly contested
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Bruce Bowen contributed 16 points and Tim Duncan 15 for
top-seeded San Antonio, which has advanced in the playoffs for
the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. The defending champion
Spurs will host the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in Game One
"Our defense was the best it (has) been in three of four weeks,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Maybe we finally figured out
something with Bonzi (Wells) and with Ron (Artest). But we made
shots on the other end too and Tony was spectacular, so we just
had a great night."
Mike Bibby scored 19 points and Bonzi Wells added 17 with 11 rebounds
for eighth-seeded Sacramento, which gave the best in the West
all it could handle but ultimately was doomed by 41 percent
shooting to go along with 20 turnovers.
"Tough loss," Wells said. "I'm very disappointed. (San Antonio)
just dominated us in all facets of the game and flexed their
championship muscles against us. ... From where we (were) in
January to where we are today, that was a big turnaround. It's
something to build on for next year."
"We understood that this team is difficult to beat here, but it
was more or less about doing the best job we could defensively
and paying attention to detail," Bowen said.
The Kings also got virtually nothing offensively out of Ron
Artest, who battled a sprained ankle to shoot 2-of-11 from the
field, or Brad Miller, who had as many fouls (three) as points.
"It was a bad time for an ankle sprain," Artest said. "It seemed
like it affected our team. We played bad but we can play bad
for a quarter and come back. That's not a big problem, but as
soon as we got out for the third quarter, we just couldn't stop
The Spurs broke open the game in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the
third quarter, when they outscored the Kings, 14-1, to take a
59-39 lead. Manu Ginobili had six points and an assist in the
burst and Bowen added back-to-back 3-pointers for San Antonio,
which scored 34 points in the third quarter after managing just
45 in the first half.
"I think a little wind did go out of their sails when
(Artest) got hurt," Popovich said. "I thought it had an effect on
the game because as soon as the third quarter started we went
to Manu and tried to take advantage of that."
The primary star of the period was Parker, who scored 14 points
in the session. The All-Star guard finished 11-of-20 from the
floor and 8-of-9 from the foul line.
"Pop told me before this game that he wants me to shoot 25
times." Parker said. "I only shot 20, so I was five behind. When
I make my outside shot, I feel like I can penetrate anytime I
want. That's the key for me is to try to make that (outside)
shot consistently and in the third quarter, it just felt great."
Brent Barry scored 12 points off the bench and Ginobili and
Michael Finley added 10 apiece for the Spurs, who shot over 50
percent and made 9-of-19 attempts from the arc.
The matchup with the Mavericks is what most expected after the
two teams battled all season for the Southwest Division title,
with the Spurs closing strong to win by three games.
"Dallas is another very very good team," Parker said. "They're
deep. Dirk Nowitzki is another tough cover. We're going to try
to find some solution to slow him down. Jason Terry is a very
good point guard, good shooter. They've got a lot of guys who
can do a lot of stuff. It's going to be a good series."
"We're going to play them in about 20 minutes so we're going to
try to get together and do a little scouting," Popovich joked,
referring to the short turnaround before Sunday's Game One. "We
just hope the game doesn't get moved to 8:00 AM."