Tuesday , May , 29 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Spurs hold off Jazz to take commanding series lead

Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) – Manu Ginobili had 22 points, six
rebounds and three steals, as the San Antonio Spurs took a 3-1
series lead over the Utah Jazz with a 91-79 victory in Western Conference
finals action from EnergySolutions Arena.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and nine boards while Tony Parker finished with 17
points for the Spurs, who rebounded from a 109-83 loss on Saturday.

Deron Williams fought through a stomach flu to post a game-high 27 points and
10 assists for Utah, which trailed by just one entering the fourth but was
unable to keep up in the final quarter. Williams did not participate in the
team’s shootaround on Monday, but was able to take the floor come game time to
lead his team. Carlos Boozer had 18 points and nine rebounds in a losing
effort.

Game 5 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Wednesday at the AT&T
Center, where the Spurs can secure a trip to the NBA Finals for the fourth
time in the last nine years.

Utah outscored the Spurs 20-13 in the third quarter to trim its deficit to
one. The San Antonio lead had ballooned all the way to 11 after five straight
points from Bruce Bowen in the early going.

Utah, though, clawed its way back.

The key sequence came with just over five minutes to play, when Boozer rose up
and blocked a Duncan lay-up attempt clean, then nailed a jumper at the other
end to cut it to 59-54.

Moments later Williams made it a three-point game with a driving layup, and
Gordan Giricek followed with a jumper that brought it to 61-60 with 1:45 left
in the quarter. After three quarters of play, the Spurs were up just 63-62.

The Jazz were never able to move in front, however, and San Antonio used a 9-2
burst in the latter stages of the fourth to build the lead back to eight.
Ginobili started the run with a trey, and Parker’s bucket capped it with 6:37
left for a 76-68 advantage.

Utah sliced the lead back down to four, but Ginobili provided an answer. The
Argentinian rattled off eight straight points for his team to head an 11-1
game-sealing spurt. He went 6-for-6 from the stripe over that span, including
two technical free throws with just over two minutes remaining that bumped the
lead to 87-73.

The home team did not threaten from there.

Utah’s frustrations boiled over late in the fourth. After Derek Fisher was
whistled for a technical for colliding with Ginobili on the way up the court,
Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan argued the call and was ejected. Fisher picked up
another technical moments later and was also thrown out of the game. The fans
voiced their displeasure as well, throwing debris onto the court on more than
one occasion.

The Spurs were ahead for most of the game, and used a 9-0 run that bridged
the first and second quarters to go on top, 27-20.

Michael Finley kick-started the surge with a three-pointer with just 11 ticks
left in the first quarter to give his team a 21-20 edge after 12 minutes of
play.

The Spurs then rattled off the first six points of the second stanza,
including a Ginobili triple with 10:41 on the clock.

San Antonio continued to play front-runner for the remainder of the first
half, and brought a 50-42 lead into the locker room. Parker and Finley each
had 11 points at the break to pace the Spurs, while Williams led all scorers
with 18.

Game Notes

Finley had 13 points…The Spurs turned the ball over just 11 times to Utah’s
17…The Jazz entered this game 9-0 all-time at home against the Spurs in the
playoffs…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 UTA