Oakland, Calif. • Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs are back in the Western Conference finals for the second straight season with the same style that has carried them to four NBA titles.
Don’t call these guys old just yet.
After wearing down the younger Golden State Warriors in a grueling six-game series, the Spurs look as spry as ever. And they already know what to expect when they open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday.
"It’s going to be a rough one," Duncan said. "If you thought this was physical, it’s going to turn up about 10 notches."
San Antonio has shown it can still grind out a series.
Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to eliminate the Warriors with a 94-82 victory Thursday night.
Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which watched a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes. But the Spurs stayed steady, just the way they have for nearly two decades, and avoided the perils of a decisive Game 7 against Golden State.
"They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes injured his head in the second quarter, returned in the third and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded the Warriors 46 to 40 to put themselves in position to make another championship run.
The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games. Memphis and San Antonio split the season series 2-2.Next Page >
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