Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Duncan sparks Spurs to 101-78 victory

May 4, 2002

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— If there were any worries about Tim Duncan's frame of mind, they were gone in a matter of minutes Friday night.

Duncan, back from his father's funeral a day earlier, scored six of San Antonio's first eight points and finished with 23 points to lead the Spurs to an emotion-fueled 101-78 rout of Seattle in the deciding game of their best-of-five playoff series.

With the victory, San Antonio advances to a second-round matchup with the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and a chance to avenge last year's four-game sweep by the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Malik Rose added 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Spurs, while Tony Parker scored 15. Steve Smith had 14 and Antonio Daniels scored 13. Duncan also had nine boards and seven blocks.

San Antonio played Wednesday's Game 4 in Seattle without Duncan, and the result wasn't pretty. The punchless Spurs trailed by 26 at the break and shot only 33 percent in a 91-79 loss that tied the series at 2-2.

But as ugly as that game was for the Spurs, Friday was even worse for the Sonics with Duncan's presence energizing San Antonio's defense.

Seattle was held to 10 points in the first quarter and 26 in the half, both record lows for the team in the postseason. They were outrebounded on the night 53-39 and managed to shoot only 34 percent from the floor.

Gary Payton led Seattle with 23 points and Brent Barry had 12.

For the fourth straight game, the Spurs played without David Robinson, who strained his lower back late in the regular season.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said early Friday that Robinson's health had improved and that he was possible for Game 5. But club officials said a pregame workout showed that the 7-foot-1 center hadn't healed enough to play, and his status remains day-to-day going into the Lakers series.

Payton was the only bright spot for Seattle in the first half, accounting for 13 of the team's 26 points.

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