SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Just when it seemed the Dallas-San Antonio
series couldn't get any more amazing or intense, the closing
seconds of a thrilling Game 5 ratcheted everything up another
And thanks to Tim Duncan, there will be a Game 6.
Duncan tied an NBA postseason record by making his first 12
shots and scored 36 points, Tony Parker scored 27, and the Spurs
withstood losing two jump balls in the final 6.3 seconds to keep
their title defense alive with a 98-97 victory over the Mavericks
on Wednesday night.
"Everyone wants this badly," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich
said. "Both teams are filled with character and toughness. This
doesn't surprise me. I would have been surprised if we beat them by
20 or if they beat us by 20."
After two excruciating, late losses on the road, the Spurs let
the Mavs know what it feels like. San Antonio ended its first
three-game losing streak of the season to get within 3-2 in this
second-round series that's quickly becoming a classic.
"We didn't expect them to roll over," Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse
said. "They're the world champs. They did what they're supposed to
do. Every possession in the game meant something."
"They got one more break than we did," Dallas coach Avery
The Mavericks will get a second chance at advancing to the
conference finals at home Friday night. If they can't do it, the
Spurs will host Game 7 on Monday night.
"We're really confident going into their building," said
Duncan, who helped extend a series when facing elimination for the
first time in his career. He'd been 0-for-5.
Nowitzki scored a series-high 31 points for Dallas, including
his first 3-pointer, which tied it at 95.
The ball was back in his hands with under 10 seconds left and
San Antonio ahead by one when things turned wacky.
Nowitzki went up for a go-ahead 8-footer in the lane when Bruce
Bowen -- who surprisingly hadn't been covering him much all game --
swept in from behind and put his hand over the ball. It was clearly
a jump ball with 6.3 seconds left in the game and five seconds left
on the shot clock.
"I was just fortunate enough to get my hand over the ball,"
Bowen said. "He was raising up. I think he felt he got enough
space in between me and him at that point and he went to go pull
Using his 5-inch height advantage, Nowitzki swatted the jump
ball backward. It hit Manu Ginobili as he tried starting a fast
break and Terry dove on it. He tried calling timeout, but Ginobili
tied up the ball first.
Officials called it another jump ball, prompting drum-like
chants from the crowd and protests from the Mavs bench. While
trying to sort it all out, players were jostling for position
around the midcourt jump circle. Had it been a hockey faceoff,
nearly everyone would've been told to leave the area.
Once they finally got it off, a mistimed tip went straight to
Dallas' Josh Howard. He called time with 3.4 seconds left and there
was no controversy over that.
The inbounds went to Terry, who put up a tough fadeway in the
right corner. Afterward, he lamented not driving the lane.
"I don't know if I had a crease or not," Terry said. "But
with 2.4 seconds left, I can get from the 3-point (line) to the
basket easy. I settled right there. It's definitely my fault."
Ginobili scored 18 points in his return to the starting lineup
after coming off the bench the last two games. He made only one of
two free throws with 1:59 left -- yet that ended up being the game's
"We didn't want to go on vacation yet," Ginobili said.
Playing hours after failing to make the All-NBA first team for
the first time in his nine-year career, Duncan made three baskets
in the first quarter. The star early on was Parker, who celebrated
his 24th birthday with a 15-point opening period.
Then it was Duncan's turn. He hit eight straight shots in the
second quarter, scoring 17 of San Antonio's final 18 points of the
At halftime, Duncan was 11-for-11 and had taken 11 free throws,
two more than the entire Mavs squad. The Spurs also were shooting
61 percent -- yet it was tied at 57.
Nowitzki, who made first-team All-NBA for the second straight
year, started 7-of-8 and forced the halftime tie with a breakaway
dunk just as the second quarter expired. Popovich seemed stunned by
the basket, staring with his hands on hips, then shaking his head
and pausing for a second before going to the locker room.
The Spurs appeared to finally break open the game with a 13-2
run late in the third quarter, but the Mavs regained the lead with
streaks of 7-0 and 8-0. Michael Finley tied it with an emphatic
dunk, then Duncan ended a rut of five misses with a three-point
play, even celebrating with a flurry of punches.
Terry, who scored 32 points in Game 4, scored 15. Devin Harris
also had 15 and Howard scored 16. Stackhouse added 10 and DeSagana
Diop scored eight, nearly matching the 11 he'd scored the entire
Duncan broke 30 points for the fourth time this series after
doing so only twice all season. Finley scored 12.
Dallas' Keith Van Horn made his first appearance since
breaking his right hand March 31 and had the unenviable task of
guarding Duncan. He picked up four fouls in 2:54. ... The Mavericks
didn't take their first free throw until 9:36 of the second
quarter. ... Duncan finished 13-of-19. His 12-for-12 start tied the
record set by Larry McNeill of Kansas City against Chicago on April