SAN ANTONIO, (Reuters) – San Antonio’s battle-hardened players settled a score by eliminating the Dallas Mavericks from the NBA playoffs in a Texas shootout yesterday.
The Spurs gained revenge for their defeat by Dallas in last year’s playoffs by winning their first-round series 4-2 following a 97-87 home win over the league’s best road team.
With an aging roster and an underdog tag this time against the contending Mavericks, the Spurs defied the odds led by their floor general Manu Ginobili, who scored 26 points.
Fellow 30-something Tim Duncan had a resurgence with 17 points and 10 rebounds to help complete the upset series win.
San Antonio took one game in Dallas and all three games on its home court against a Mavericks team that compiled an NBA-best 27 road wins during the regular season.
Leading by two points midway through the fourth, the Spurs scored six straight to go ahead 86-78 and did not look back.
Young guard George Hill provided critical baskets in the final quarter and finished with 21 to spark San Antonio.
The clinching win was set up by a fast start and 22-8 lead after the first quarter. The Spurs led by 22 in the second before Dallas All-Star Dirk Nowitzki led his team on a run.