Spurs Eliminated From Playoffs

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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The San Antonio Spurs are done, and April isn't even over yet.

"I don't think I've been off this early in a long, long time," Tim Duncan said.

This is how Duncan, Tony Parker and the winningest NBA team of the last decade measures being ousted from the playoffs in only five games: For the first time since 2000, the Spurs aren't moving past the opening round.

The Dallas Mavericks are after eliminating San Antonio with a 106-93 victory on Tuesday night, their first postseason series victory since 2006. Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points, and if sixth-seeded Dallas technically upset the higher-slotted Spurs, the Mavs certainly never were the inferior team in this series.

Dallas finished off the Spurs by winning three straight, starting with holding the Spurs to their fewest points ever in a playoff game in Game 3. It finished with the Spurs getting the rare sensation of a season-ending defeat on their home court, which has happened only twice in the Duncan era — both times at the hands of Dallas.

"We've accomplished one little baby step in winning a series," Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said. "Now it starts over again, and it's the first team to four. We'll have maybe a day to enjoy it, or a night, but that's it."

The Mavericks advance to the Western Conference semifinals to play either Denver or New Orleans. The Nuggets lead that series 3-1 and can finish off the Hornets on Wednesday.

Duncan scored 30 and Tony Parker had 26 but again got little help — the story of the series for the two-dimensional Spurs. Predictions that the Spurs were doomed while Manu Ginobili sat out the playoffs with a bum ankle were validated.

For Duncan, it's the first time in his career he couldn't lead the Spurs past the opening round.

"They had more firepower than us. They played better than us," said Duncan, who never played in San Antonio's first-round loss to Phoenix in 2000 because of a knee injury. "However you want to put it, obviously they were the better team this year. That's all you can say."

Getting to the West semifinals is a dramatic turn for the Mavericks, who pulled together to win seven of nine entering the playoffs and have now won 11 of their last 14.

"We're not going to be favored in the series, whoever it is," Mavs guard Jason Terry said. "We're just going to have to continue to play hard."

Celtics 106, Bulls 104, OT

At Boston, Paul Pierce made three straight jumpers in the final 77 seconds of overtime and the Celtics held on to take a 3-2 lead in the series.

Rajon Rondo scored 28 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds, and Kendrick Perkins had 16 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks for the Celtics. It was the third time in five games the teams have needed overtime.

Ben Gordon scored 26 and Joakim Noah had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, but Brad Miller missed the potential game-tying free throws with 2 seconds left in overtime.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Chicago.

Magic 91, 76ers 78

At Orlando, Fla., Dwight Howard had 24 points and a career playoff-high 24 rebounds and Orlando took a 3-2 lead in the series.

Rashard Lewis snapped out of his playoff slump with a series-high 24 points, and Rafer Alston scored 14 for the Magic. It was Howard's fourth career playoff game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.

Andre Iguodala scored 26 points and Andre Miller added 17 points for Philadelphia.

Game 6 is Thursday in Philadelphia.

Trail Blazers 88, Rockets 77

At Portland, Ore., Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, and the Trail Blazers staved off elimination with a win in Game 5.

Luis Scola led the Rockets with 21 points and Yao Ming had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Roy, a two-time All-Star and Portland's leading scorer, missed practice on Monday because of flu-like symptoms, while Aldridge didn't practice because of a sore right elbow. Both started Tuesday night.

The Rockets, who have not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday's Game 6 in Houston.

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