Spurs bump Mavs to brink Cavs secure 3-1 lead over Bulls
By Paul J. Weber
SAN ANTONIO — George Hill sank yet another big shot from the corner, this time right in front of the Dallas Mavericks bench, and ran back upcourt flashing three fingers.
He probably meant 3-pointer.
Or maybe it was three down, one to go.
While Tim Duncan had a miserable 34th birthday and Manu Ginobili looked as rough at times as his bandaged-up broken nose, Hill scored 29 points to help the Spurs push the second-seeded Mavericks to the brink of elimination with a 92-89 victory last night.
"From the day they drafted me, I knew I belonged," said Hill, found by the Spurs late in the first round two years ago.
The 23-year-old guard became the first player other than Duncan, Ginobili or Tony Parker to lead the Spurs in scoring in a playoff game since the first round in 2007. That's a span of 41 playoff games.
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili combined for just 31 points in a physical Game 4 that left tempers flaring.
"If you tell me before the game we hold the Big Three to those numbers, we figure we win the game," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said.
Nowitzki scanned the box score: Duncan getting four points on 1-of-9 shooting. Ginobili getting a modest 17. Parker scoring just 10.
"It's tough. I'm not going to sit here and lie," said Nowitzki, who was held to 17 points, his worst outing in the series. "In Game 2 we should have had it at home and we feel we should have had one here. We didn't and it's frustrating, but we have to keep fighting until it's over."
If Game 4 was any indication, tomorrow could be a rough-and-tumble elimination game. Officials rang up three flagrant fouls, pouring more fuel on an already intense Texas rivalry.
Tempers flared as the Mavs threw away a 14-point lead in the third quarter, none more so than when Eduardo Najera was ejected after hooking a hand around Ginobili's head and sending him belly flopping to the floor.
A livid Popovich leaped from his chair and began stomping toward the basket before being slowed down by his assistants. Minutes earlier, Richard Jefferson and Jason Terry had to be separated when words escalated in the third quarter.
"We're not going to back (down), we're not going to take hits and let them keep doing it," Hill said. "Our guys stepped up and we can deliver a blow, too."
DALLAS 17 31 11 30—89
SAN ANTONIO 20 17 29 26—92
DALLAS–Marion 7-13 0-0 14, Nowitzki 4-10 9-9 17, Dampier 0-2 0-0 0, Kidd 3-10 2-2 10, Butler 7-18 2-2 17, Barea 3-7 1-2 8, Terry 5-11 0-2 13, Haywood 3-6 4-6 10, Najera 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-77 18-23 89.
SAN ANTONIO–Jefferson 6-9 3-5 15, Duncan 1-9 2-4 4, McDyess 5-9 0-0 10, Hill 11-16 2-2 29, Ginobili 4-16 8-9 17, Bonner 0-2 0-0 0, Parker 4-9 2-4 10, Bogans 0-1 0-0 0, Blair 3-4 1-4 7. Totals 34-75 18-28 92.
3-Point Goals—Dallas 7-19 (Terry 3-5, Kidd 2-7, Barea 1-2, Butler 1-3, Nowitzki 0-1, Marion 0-1), San Antonio 6-17 (Hill 5-6, Ginobili 1-7, Jefferson 0-1, Bogans 0-1, Bonner 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Dallas 54 (Nowitzki 11), San Antonio 47 (Duncan 11). Assists—Dallas 17 (Kidd 5), San Antonio 19 (Ginobili 7). Total Fouls—Dallas 22, San Antonio 20. Technicals—Nowitzki. Flagrants—Najera, Blair, Jefferson. Ejected—Najera.