Spurs complete jazz sweep
SALT LAKE CITY - Agence France-Presse
Manu Ginobili has poured in 17 points to lead five Spurs players to have scored in double figures during their win over the Jazz. The victory puts the Spurs in the quarterfinals of the Western Conference playoffs. AFP photoThe San Antonio Spurs swept the Utah Jazz out of the first round of the NBA playoffs on May 7, holding on for an 87-81 win thanks to a balanced attack that saw five players score double figures.
Manu Ginobili scored a team-high 17 points and Tim Duncan had 11 points and five rebounds for the top-seeded Spurs, who went on a 20-2 scoring run in the second half to seize command of game four in their Western Conference series.
“We didn’t lose our composure. That was great,” Duncan said. “We used the clock when we could. We took advantage of plays when we had to and found a way to close it out.” In the other West game, Chris Paul dominated in overtime as the Los Angeles Clippers moved to the brink of advancing to the second round with a 101-97 win over Memphis.
The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and can close it out with a win in game five on Wednesday in Memphis.
In Utah, France’s Tony Parker had 11 points for the Spurs, who won the series 4-0, while Gary Neal also had 11 and Tiago Splitter contributed 10.
For the Jazz, Al Jefferson tallied a game-high 26 points, Devin Harris had 19 and Derrick Favors finished with 16 points and 10 boards.
Utah is now 22-25 all-time in elimination games and still no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
“It was a good experience, going out there, playing against the Spurs,” Favors said. “It was a challenge.” San Antonio won 21 of their last 23 regular season games as they surpassed the Oklahoma City Thunder to become the West’s top seed. The Spurs shot 10-of-22 from beyond the arc, while the Jazz failed on all 13 of their three-point attempts.
San Antonio went on a scoring run in the fourth and then had to hold on at the end as Utah mustered a spirited rally of their own. The Jazz got within four points at 83-79 with less than a minute remaining. But Ginobili helped seal the victory with an uncontested lay-up in the last minute after Utah’s Paul Millsap bobbled a pass leading to a turnover.
Utah made the postseason as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They were one of the youngest teams in the playoffs with seven players under the age of 26.
“I think it was a good learning experience for us,” said Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
Back in Los Angeles, Paul scored eight of his 27 points in overtime as the Clippers edged past the pesky Grizzlies at Staples Center arena.
Blake Griffin finished with 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Clippers. Paul had just two points in the fourth quarter but was able to step up his game in the extra period.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while teammate Rudy Gay netted 23 points.