Spurs attempt to take 2-0 lead over Utah
(Sports Network) – The third-seeded San Antonio Spurs try to take a 2-0 lead
over No. 4 Utah in the Western Conference finals, as the clubs battle tonight
at the AT&T Center.
On Sunday, All-Star Tim Duncan scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to
lead the Spurs over the Jazz, 108-100, in Game 1 of the series at the AT&T
Manu Ginobili added 23 points and 10 assists, while Tony Parker ended with 21
points for the Spurs, who used a strong second quarter surge to build an
insurmountable lead. Michael Finley and Fabricio Oberto both tallied 14 points
in the victory for San Antonio, which is 5-2 at home in this year’s
Deron Williams led a fourth-quarter comeback for the Jazz, who trailed by as
many as 19 points. Williams ended with 34 points, nine assists and seven
rebounds for Utah, while Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds
Utah, which is 2-5 on the road in the playoffs, has won three of its last five
Game 2s in the postseason, while the Spurs have lost two of their last three
Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday at
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, and in the semifinals in 1996, 4-2,
and 1998, 4-1.
San Antonio has advanced to the Western Conference finals for the eighth time
in franchise history. The Spurs 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.
The Spurs, who lost in seven to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s
semifinals, knocked out No. 6 Denver in five games in the opening round and
survived a tough six-game series with the second-seeded Suns in the semis.
San Antonio is in the postseason for the 10th straight year, and has won three
of the last eight NBA championships.
The Jazz have returned to the West finals for the first time since 1998, when
they swept the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0. They are 2-3 in the conference finals.
Utah also defeated the Houston Rockets in six in 1997, and lost to Seattle,
4-3, in 1996, the Rockets, 4-1, in 1994 and in 1992 to Portland, 4-2.
Utah defeated the fifth-seeded Rockets in seven games in the first round and
eliminated No. 8 Golden State in round two. The Jazz ended a three-year
playoff drought by qualifying for this year’s postseason. Prior to the
2006-07 campaign, the Jazz last appeared in the playoffs in 2003 when they
were eliminated in five games by the Sacramento Kings in the opening round.