Sunday , Apr , 15 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Duncan ejected as Mavs down Spurs

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris each scored 21
points to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the San Antonio Spurs, 91-86, at
American Airlines Center in a possible Western Conference finals preview.

Josh Howard added 15 points and six rebounds for the Mavericks, who have
already locked up homecourt advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. Jerry
Stackhouse added 14 points for Dallas, which scored the final nine points of
the game to secure its fourth win in five outings.

Tony Parker had 23 points to lead the Spurs, who had a six-game win streak
halted and lost for only the second time in 14 games. Manu Ginobili added 16
points for San Antonio, which will be the third seed heading into the Western
Conference playoffs.

The Spurs had a chance to draw within two games of second-seeded Phoenix with
two games to play for both teams, but now doesn’t have a chance to catch the
Suns.

This was a rare end-of-season entertaining contest, but it was marred with a
controversial moment. Late in the third quarter San Antonio center Tim Duncan
received a pair of technicals and was ejected. The odd part is that Duncan,
who ended with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists, wasn’t on the floor
when he received either.

He was hit with his first technical with 2:20 left when he apparently had some
choice words for official Joey Crawford. Then, with 1:04 remaining in the
stanza, Duncan was ejected and this time replays showed he didn’t say
anything. Crawford, though, took exception to Duncan’s apparent obnoxious
laughter after Crawford called a foul on the Spurs’ Fabricio Oberto.

“Joey has a personal problem with me and I can’t do anything about that,” said
Duncan. “I said three words to him the entire night and the other words were
when the two times he gave me technicals, so he’s obviously got a personal
problem with me.”

It took a couple of minutes for Duncan to leave the court, as he stopped a few
times to yell at Crawford, who decided that was the time to not acknowledge
Duncan.

“I don’t know what else they want me to do,” said Duncan. “If he wants camera
time then he’s going to call the techs and get the camera time he wants. So I
don’t know what his deal is.

“I don’t have a problem with Joey. Obviously he’s got a problem with me.”

The game was close throughout with the Spurs extending to an 86-82 lead
following a pair of Ginobili free throws with 4:17 left. That, however, were
the last points of the game for San Antonio.

Nowitzki hit a jumper with 3:20 left to draw his club within 86-84. He then
hit a corner jumper with 1:15 remaining to tie the contest.

The Spurs called a timeout to regroup, but on their ensuing possession Howard
stripped Parker and Greg Buckner came away with the ball and converted a
transition layup with 50 seconds on the clock to give the Mavs the lead for
good, 88-86.

With 30 seconds left Bruce Bowen missed a three-pointer and Stackhouse hit 1-
of-2 free throws on the other end with 10 ticks to play, giving the Spurs one
last chance at the tie. However, Brent Barry’s off-balance three-point
attempt with four seconds to play was well off the mark.

“We hung in there, dug in there and had a pretty decent fourth quarter,
especially defensively” said Dallas head coach Avery Johnson. “We tried to
make it as difficult as we can on them.”

Buckner ended with only for points for the Mavs, who trailed 28-22 after one
quarter and went into halftime down 52-45. The Spurs continued to lead, 73-65,
going into the fourth quarter.

“Great game both ways,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “I really
thought we did a good job. Dallas did a good job. Down the stretch we missed a
couple of open threes that would’ve changed the game, turned it over once or
twice, and that was the name of the game down the stretch.”

Game Notes

These two teams met in the conference semifinal round last year, with the Mavs
winning in seven games…Dallas took three of the four meetings against the
Spurs this season…Bowen and Dallas’ Jason Terry also received a technical
foul each…Dallas ended its home schedule with a 36-5 mark…The Spurs are
27-13 on the road.

DAL SAN