Saturday , May , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Heart of a champion; Spurs force Game 7

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – San Antonio made all of the plays down the
stretch in a true team effort and the absence of Dallas guard Jason Terry
played large, as the Spurs forced a deciding Game 7 with a 91-86 victory over
the Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 30 points, including a pair of free throws
with 15.2 ticks left that extended San Antonio’s lead to 89-86. The Spurs, who
finished third from the bottom in free throws made during the regular season,
converted all 15 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half.

Tim Duncan scored 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Michael
Finley added 16 points for San Antonio, which displayed its uncanny ability to
get the crucial stops and convert the pressure shots in a playoff atmosphere.

The Spurs now run with all of the momentum back to the River City for Game 7
at the AT&T Center on Monday.

The Mavericks will walk there after failing to capitalize on a Game 6 in front
of a raucous home crowd. Dirk Nowitzki poured in 26 points and grabbed a
franchise playoff-high 21 rebounds while Josh Howard contributed 17 points for
Dallas, which has lost six straight Game 6s.

Dallas looked lost on the offensive end in the fourth quarter without Terry,
who was suspended one game for punching Finley in the waning seconds of Game
5. Guards Jerry Stackhouse and Devin Harris combined to shoot 7-of-29 from the
floor.

Without Terry, San Antonio focused on Nowitzki in the closing seconds, and the
forward missed a game-tying three with six seconds left before Tony Parker
iced the contest with two free throws.

DAL SAN