DALLAS, May 29 (Ticker) --
In a fourth quarter for the ages, the San Antonio Spurs
got their biggest boost from the aging Steve Kerr
NBA TV highlights from|
Play of the Day:
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Duncan and Rose
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The 37-year-old Kerr nailed three three-pointers as the Spurs scored
23 straight points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Dallas Mavericks
, 90-78, and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1999.
"I was wide open. Those are shots I should hit," said Kerr, who
won NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls
from 1996-98 and with the
Spurs in 1999. He nailed the winning jumper with five seconds
left in Game 6 of the 1997 Finals over the Utah Jazz
San Antonio, which won the 1999 title, hosts the Eastern
Conference champion New Jersey Nets
in Game 1 of NBA
Finals 2003 at the SBC Center on Wednesday.
It will be the first NBA Finals matchup between two former ABA
With Tim Duncan
struggling and Tony Parker
playing with a
stomach flu, the Spurs looked flat and trailed by as many as 15
points in the third quarter and 71-58 after a jumper by Nick Van Exel
of Dallas with 10:53 to play.
But after Duncan made 1-of-2 free throws 13 seconds later, the
Spurs' wing players got hot from the outside. Manu Ginobili
nailed a three-pointer and Stephen Jackson
made back-to-back shots from
beyond the arc to pull San Antonio within 71-68 with 8:53 left.
"Stephen kept us from falling down the hill totally," Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich
said. "He showed good choices. He made
some threes, penetrated and pulled up, did a good job in that
sense. He was very important in keeping us rolling."
"That's just me, I am aggressive," Jackson said. "If they are
going to take away Tim, then someone else is going to have to
score, so I just stepped up and took the shots with confidence,
and I was able to knock them down tonight."
Kerr -- the NBA career leader in three-point accuracy -- then tied the
contest with a three-pointer with 7:12 left, added another to put
San Antonio ahead for good, 74-71, with 6:28 left, and connected
on a third shot from outside the arc with 5:14 to play to make it
Ginobili capped the incredible 23-0 burst with a pair of free
throws with 3 1/2 minutes to go to give San Antonio an 81-71
"I don't know what to tell you other than we were playing so
well for so long and then bottom just dropped out," Mavs coach
said. "The fourth quarter we couldn't get a shot to
go in. I think they turned it up to a different level. It was
The Spurs outscored the Mavericks 34-9 in the final 12
minutes, with Dallas scoring the last four points of the game
in the final minute with the result no longer in doubt.
In Game 5 on Tuesday, the Spurs blew a 19-point lead and were
outscored by 29-10 in the fourth quarter in a 103-91 setback.
Jackson scored a playoff career-high 24 points, Duncan
contributed 18 with 11 rebounds and Malik Rose 12 and 11 for the
Spurs, who won each of the three games in Dallas during the
Kerr, who had scored just two points in 13 minutes in the
playoffs, scored 12 in 13 minutes in Game 6.
"We obviously got a big boost out of Steve Kerr out there
tonight, which is something that you don't plan on because it's
tough to do that if you don't play," Popovich said. "He was
great coming in. It was obvious that Tony was having a hard
time, he was feeling badly. We mentioned to Steve that he
needed to be ready, that he was coming in tonight. He was real
ready and we were fortunate in that regard."
"I couldn't remember the last time I played," Kerr said. "It's
been a long time, but tonight Tony was sick and the team needed
Parker was held scoreless in just 13 minutes of action, missing
all five of his shots. "I feel good now," Parker said. "You get
the victory you kind of forget (feeling sick)."
Van Exel scored 19 points and Walt Williams
17 for Dallas, which
played its third straight game without injured All-Star forward
"We have holes in our team, but those guys play and they found
ways to win," said Nelson, whose squad won a franchise-record 60
games in the regular season to tie San Antonio for the best
record in the league. "They found a way to blend together and
to become one. That is what you want your teams to do."
Dallas held a 46-40 lead at the break and stretched its
advantage to 63-48 on a layup by Steve Nash
with 4:20 to play in
the period. But Kerr entered the contest for the first time 36
seconds later and changed the tone of the game.
"It was definitely loud in there today, and those guys were
running, knocking down shots and playing real well at the
beginning," Jackson said. "We just wanted to keep our composure
and not get caught up in their style of game. I think we did
that in the first half. In the second half, we slowed down and
started playing defense like we normally do, and it went in our
"The combination of them turning their gear up to a different
level, we couldn't go to a different level," Nelson said. "We
were playing at as high a level as we could get it all game.
When they moved it up and we couldn't go any higher, I think
that really was the end of it."