SEATTLE, May 19 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan turned around an ugly start to provide a beautiful ending for the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite suffering an apparent ankle injury with just over eight minutes to play, Duncan scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and hit the go-ahead layup with less than a second remaining to lift the Spurs to a dramatic 98-96 win over the Seattle Supersonics, clinching their Western Conference semifinals, 4-2.

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The win was the first by a road team in the series and advanced San Antonio to the Western Conference finals for the fourth time in seven seasons. The Spurs will meet either Phoenix or Dallas.

To get there, San Antonio had to weather a difficult outing from Duncan and was rewarded for its patience with a brilliant finish by its superstar forward.

After Antonio Daniels split a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to tie it at 96-96, San Antonio set up its final possession.

Manu Ginobili, who scored 39 points in a win in Game 5, took the inbounds pass and dribbled down the clock before making his move with about five seconds to go. With Daniels on him, Ginobili penetrated to the left side of the foul line and whipped a pass to Duncan in the low post for short shot off the glass.

"My biggest concern was to not leave them a shot," Ginobili said. "I wanted to consume all the time possible. If I could finish, fine, if not find the open guy. I'm very happy that Tim could make the shot in the quick time he had."

Ray Allen, who scored 25 points for the SuperSonics, had a 3-pointer hit off the rim as time expired.

"I told myself it's not going to happen and then when the shot went up, I thought 'Oh my gosh,' and then it bounced off and I felt really good," Spurs guard Tony Parker said.

Duncan, who missed his first nine shots, did not make a basket until the late stages of the third quarter and suffered his injury with 8:08 left in the fourth. It was the opposite ankle from the one he sprained in March that forced him to miss 12 games, but was painful enough to cause him to roll on the floor in pain.

He managed to get to his feet shortly thereafter and made two free throws to give the Spurs a 78-77 lead.

"That ankle is probably going to be jelly tomorrow," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "I can't believe he kept playing on it. He would have had me assassinated if I kept him out any longer than I did. He showed a lot of guts playing through that darn thing."

Duncan missed just 26 seconds to rest the foot but saw Seattle take an 89-88 lead with 3:27 left on Damien Wilkins' 3-pointer.

Parker responded with a jumper and Robert Horry buried a 3-pointer with 1:47 to go for a 93-89 cushion.

Daniels and Duncan exchanged baskets before the Sonics went on a 5-1 surge prior to Duncan's game-winner.

"Great players continue to compete," Popovich said of Duncan. "That really separates players. A lot of players have bad games and really let it get to them. Timmy understands that he has a responsibility to that whole group. He came up with a huge one at the end."

"I took shots when they were there," Duncan said of his poor shooting. "If I'd have taken bad shots, I'd be conscious of it. They were good shots."

Horry and Parker scored 14 points apiece and Ginobili 13 for the Spurs, who held a 52-47 lead at halftime.

Daniels, a former Spur, scored 22 points and Wilkins added 10 off the bench for the Sonics, who played their third straight game without All-Star forward Rashard Lewis due to a sprained toe.

"We know we were without some guys in Rashard and (forward Vladimir Radmanovic)," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "But injuries are a part of the game."

The loss ended a campaign that saw Seattle surprise many in claiming the Northwest Division crown after back-to-back losing seasons. While the season was a wildly successful one, many question marks remain as to what the team may look like next season.

"That has been my goal the whole time," said Allen, a free agent, when asked if he would like to stay in Seattle. "It's tough to think about now. A lot of people were asking me if this was my last game but I plan on being in this uniform. That's my goal."

Neither team held a double-digit advantage in the game and the lead changed hands nine times in the fourth.

Following a free throw by Ginobili that gave San Antonio a 96-93 lead with 58 seconds left, Nick Collison had a follow shot to pull Seattle within one. After Horry fouled Daniels in a rebounding battle on the other end, the Sonics guard tied it with one of two free throws.

Duncan and Ginobili, the Spurs' two All-Stars, saved their team another trip to Texas for Game Seven and gave it at least two days of rest.

"It was a great playoff game," Popovich said. "We were fortunate enough to execute down the stretch and get a couple of scores and we ended up winning the game."