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Spurs 100, Mavericks 86
I'll Be There For You
SAN ANTONIO, May 7 (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs used a player who wasn't even in the building and a coach who was gone before halftime to help them win an emotion-filled game.

Derek Anderson, who was not in the Alamodome on Monday night as he starts to recover from a separated shoulder, was a big presence.

Antonio Daniels
Antonio Daniels just gets the shot off in front of Dirk Nowitzki.
Glenn James/NBAE Photos TV highlights:28.8+ | ISDN+
Facing Dallas two nights after Juwan Howard's flagrant foul left Anderson with the injury, the Spurs beat the Mavericks 100-86 to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Tim Duncan, who took the floor wearing a white armband with "DA, 1" written in black marker, led the Spurs with 25 points and 22 rebounds. Antonio Daniels, who started for Anderson, also wore an armband and had 12 points.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

"We were a little like a wounded animal tonight," said David Robinson, who had 18 points for San Antonio. "We really did a nice job of banding together."

The Spurs, who wanted Howard to be suspended for the mid-air collision that sent Anderson crashing to the floor, took the lead for good shortly after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected late in the first half. Popovich flew onto the court screaming that a flagrant foul called on Danny Ferry -- for a hard foul on Howard -- was unfair.

"We knew tonight, because of what happened last game, the officials wanted to keep control," Popovich said. "If anything happened at all, they were going to call it.

"Unfortunately, we were the first to make contact and we bore the brunt of it, which in some ways seems unfair because we didn't do anything last game," he said.

Howard, who started the game, was 2-for-14 from the field and had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Howard took the court to a roar of boos by Spurs fans, who booed him almost every time he had the ball. One fan hoisted a sign reading, "This is the NBA, not the WWF." Across the court, a cluster of fans held up signs with Anderson's No. 1. And fans in the balcony unfurled a giant banner that read "Juwan Coward," which was later taken down.

Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan goes around Shawn Bradley for the dunk:
760k avi | QuickTime
Duncan denied revenge was on his mind.

"We're here to win the series," he said. "Not settle any payback."

Though they managed to close within eight points in the final quarter, the Mavericks were rocked by Duncan and Robinson's aggressive defense, if not the unusually hostile atmosphere.

"All that does is light the fuel to the oven. Unfortunately, the oven didn't get lit," Howard said. "I didn't play well tonight. I hope we can put the whole thing behind us."

His teammates joined him in a poor night of shooting as they finished at 34 percent. Michael Finley had 24 points on 8-for-24 shooting and Dirk Nowitzki, who went 11-for-12 from the free throw line, was 4-of-13 from the field and had 19 points. Steve Nash, who averaged 15.6 points during the regular season, shot 4-for-9 and had 10 points.

"We need to shoot the ball well, especially if we hope to beat someone like the Spurs," Finley said.

"They have two of the best shot-blockers in the game, and that makes it tough to get our shots," Nowitzki said. "We haven't had many open looks."

Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki finishes the break with a finger roll:
1019k avi | QuickTime
Ferry's flagrant foul came with 4:27 left in the first half, when he fouled Howard as he drove for the basket. Popovich got a technical for yelling about the call. Then, as his assistants held him back, Popovich continued to holler, a second technical was called and he was ejected.

Nowitzki made two free throws for the technicals and then Howard made his two to give the Mavericks a 35-33 lead, their first of the second quarter.

The game stayed close until early in the third, when Daniels sparked an 18-4 run by nailing a three-pointer and then spinning around the basket and dropping in a bank shot.

Howard responded with a basket, but Terry Porter then hit a three-pointer. After Dallas' Shawn Bradley and Duncan each made a basket, Daniels stripped the ball from Howard and Ferry hit a fast-break three-pointer. Daniels followed that with a three.

"I thought about DA a lot during the game," Daniels said. "You miss his smile and his attitude. He's as big off the court for us as he is on the court."

Robinson's jumper made it 68-51 with 4:29 left in the period.

With two three-pointers by Howard Eisley and four free throws and a basket by Nowitzki, Dallas closed to 75-67 early in the fourth but got no closer.

Porter had 15 points for the Spurs.

Notes: Duncan set a Spurs playoff record for most rebounds in a half with 15. It was Duncan's career high for rebounds in the playoffs. ... Daniels made his first start since Jan. 25 at Sacramento. He started 23 games during the regular season. ... Anderson played in all 82 regular-season games and was the Spurs' No. 2 scorer at 15.5 points a game. ... Robinson received a thunderous ovation when he was presented with the NBA Sportsmanship Award before tipoff.

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