New Orleans — As Manu Ginobili dribbled out the final few seconds of the second-round series clincher, Tony Parker walked over and gave him a congratulatory pat on the head.
There was no exuberant celebration for the San Antonio Spurs when the final horn sounded, just a few hugs for a job well done. This playoff-savvy group was exhausted after a seven-game triumph over the younger, upstart New Orleans Hornets.
Ginobili scored 26 points, hitting four free throws in the final minute, to send the Spurs to the Western Conference finals with a 91-82 victory Monday night.
Parker added 17 points, including a crucial jumper in the final minute, as the Spurs held off a late rally to become the first team in this series to win on the road.
"We really believed we had a chance to win on the road here," said Spurs forward Tim Duncan, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds. "It's just a lot of confidence. A lot of games under our belt."