SAN ANTONIO — Two weeks into the NBA playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs finally produced a performance befitting a team that often dismissed opponents with ease while accumulating the league’s best record during the regular season.
Guard Tony Parker scored 32 points and the Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 119-96 Sunday in Game 7 of the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
The Spurs advance to face the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, who upset the Houston Rockets in a six-game series.
San Antonio was 62-20 during the regular season, three games better than the team closest in pursuit, Oklahoma City. Along the way the Spurs won a franchise regular season record 19 straight games.
But the Spurs struggled with Dallas, the outcome in five of the first six games having been decided in the final minute. The only blowout was a 113-92 Dallas victory in Game 2.
Guard Manu Ginobili supplemented Parker with 20 points. Guard Danny Green added 16, one more than forwards Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 22 points. Guard Devin Harris scored 17.
San Antonio led 68-46 at halftime after matching a franchise playoff record for field-goal accuracy during a half — 68.4 percent.
Dallas helped the Spurs’ cause, and their shooting percentage, by committing nine turnovers in the half. San Antonio turned them into 19 points.
Parker led the way with 24 points, converting 9 of 12 shots, a mixture of mid-range jumpers and forays to the basket against bigger, slower Mavericks who had the misfortune of guarding him in Dallas’ switching defense.
Ginobili had a big half as well, producing 11 points, four steals and four assists. Ginobili boosted the Spurs with four points on one possession in the first quarter, making a free throw after Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was hit with a technical foul, and following up with a 3-point basket.
Duncan scored 12 in the half, hitting 6 of 7 shots.
When the half was over, the Spurs’ so called Big Three — Parker, Ginobili and Duncan — had outscored the entire Dallas roster 47-36.
Carlisle, trailing by 22 at the half, opted for a small lineup to start the third quarter — Nowitzki and four guards, including reserves Harris and Vince Carter. That strategy worked initially. Dallas cut the deficit to 14 four minutes into the period thanks, primarily, to eight points by Harris.
Then San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich countered with smaller lineup, replacing Duncan with Ginboli. The Spurs opened a 19-point lead over the next four minutes, and Popovich then reverted to a traditional lineup.
NOTES: Spurs G Danny Green hit his first four shots Sunday, extending his streak to 13 in a row during the last three games. … This series was not the first time the Mavericks and Spurs played a Game 7 in San Antonio. Dallas defeated San Antonio here in overtime to win the 2006 Western Conference semifinals. The Mavs advanced to the NBA Finals, losing the championship to Miami. … The officials handed out two technical fouls in the first quarter, to Dallas coach Rick Carlisle and San Antonio G Tony Parker. Parker said something to Dallas C DeJuan Blair, a former Spurs’ teammate, after driving by him for a layup. Blair then received a flagrant-1 foul in the second quarter when he hit Spurs G Manu Ginobili in the face. Dallas F Jae Crowder received a flagrant-1 in the third quarter for a shot to Parker’s head.
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