Sunday , May , 20 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Duncan leads Spurs over Jazz in Game 1

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tim Duncan scored 27 points and grabbed 10
rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs over the Utah Jazz, 108-100, in Game 1
of the Western Conference finals.

Manu Ginobili added 23 points and 10 assists, and Tony Parker had 21 points
for the Spurs, who used a strong second quarter surge to build an
insurmountable lead. Michael Finley and Fabricio Oberto tallied 14 points each
for San Antonio, which held on down the stretch despite poor free throw

Deron Williams led a fourth-quarter comeback for the Jazz, who trailed by as
many as 19 points in their first conference finals appearance since 1998.
Williams ended with 34 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Utah, which
also got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Carlos Boozer.

After trailing by as many as 18 points early in the fourth quarter, the Jazz
made it interesting down the stretch.

Down 90-74, Utah scored 13 of the next 18 points to draw within single
figures for the first time since the second quarter. A Williams three-point
play made it a nine-point game, 92-83, and his jumper with 2:44 on the clock
made it an eight-point affair, 95-87.

San Antonio, though, kept the Jazz at bay, hitting just 10-of-16 free throws
down the stretch, including eight in a row by Finley inside the final minute
of play.

“We had a good first half offensively and defensively and luckily had enough
of a lead to hang in there because they played better than we did in the
second half,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “Deron Williams was
fantastic and they made a great run. We were just able to hang on. So we are
happy we were able to do that. ”

The Spurs ended hitting just 27-of-40 free throws compared to 23-of-27 for

Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Tuesday in San Antonio.

“It is very frustrating, especially the first half,” said Utah head coach
Jerry Sloan of his team’s effort. “And finally (we) fought back a little bit.”

Utah led 13-9 early on, but the Spurs used a 10-0 run to take the lead for
good. Ginobili scored eight points during the surge, capping it with a bucket
with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first for a 19-13 lead.

San Antonio then went into the second with a 23-20 advantage, and ahead 25-22,
the Spurs used a 19-6 run to take control. Duncan scored 10 points and
Ginobili tallied the final five during the run, which was capped a three-
pointer by Ginobili with just over four minutes left in the half for a 44-28

The lead later ballooned to 19 points after Oberto completed a three-point
play with 45 seconds remaining and the Spurs went into halftime with a 54-36

“I thought we were really solid defensively,” said Duncan of the second
quarter. “I thought we got some stops and they weren’t hurting us as badly on
the offensive glass. We held them to one shot and got out and were able to
push it up the floor.”

Utah drew within 13 points, 54-41, early in the third, but the Spurs responded
by increasing the lead to 16 points, 66-50, on a Finley three-pointer with
just under six minute to play in the stanza.

The Jazz continued to try to stay within striking distance, drawing within
74-62 on a Paul Millsap basket with two minutes to play in the third. However,
San Antonio scored the final four points of the stanza for a 78-62 lead and
the first two of the fourth for an 18-point lead.

Game Notes

Mehmet Okur ended with 10 points, hitting just 3-of-15 shots for Utah…This
is the fourth time that these teams have met in the playoffs. The Jazz are 3-0
against San Antonio in the postseason. Utah defeated the Spurs, 3-1, in the
first round of the 1994 playoffs, 4-2 in the 1996 conference semifinals, and
4-1 in the 1998 semis…This is the eighth Western Conference finals for the
Spurs. San Antonio played the Lakers in 1982, 1983 and 2001, Houston in 1995,
Portland in 1999, Dallas in 2003 and Phoenix in 2005. San Antonio is 3-4 in
this round.