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Duncan leads Spurs to decisive 2-0 lead vs. Jazz

May 23, 2007 - 7:18 AM SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Ticker) -- With Tim Duncan as their anchor, the San Antonio Spurs are halfway to their fourth NBA Finals.

Duncan scored 26 points and hauled in 14 rebounds as the Spurs broke open a close game in the second quarter and never looked back in posting a 105-96 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game Two of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday.

Tony Parker had 17 points and a career playoff-high 14 assists and Manu Ginobili also scored 17 points for San Antonio, which set a team playoff record with 13 3-pointers.

"The Jazz want to make you take tough 3-pointers and jumpers," Ginobili said. "We made those shots, and that's why we were so successful."

San Antonio will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead on Saturday in Utah.

"We're going to have to bring much more effort than we had here to beat those guys in Utah," Duncan said. "We're going to go in there, try to get that first game and really put the pressure on them."

"I hope our players feel like they can come back," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "That's the most important thing. Let's gain a little confidence and hopefully play better when situations get tough."

Duncan, who connected on 10-of-15 from the floor and also added five blocks, had his 11th consecutive playoff game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. The nine-time All-Star leads all active players with 23 20-point, 10-rebound postseason efforts.

Since the 1998 playoffs - Duncan's first - the Spurs are 11-1 all-time when they take a 2-0 lead in a series. The only negative was a Western semifinal loss in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

San Antonio opened the second quarter on a 16-7 run to build a two-point first-quarter lead to 42-31 with 5:24 left in the half. Ginobili had five points in the burst and Parker added four.

"Tony did a great job," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Utah's aggression defensively is fantastic. They really did a great job on our pick-and-rolls as far as keeping Tony out of the deal. However he was smart enough to move the basketball and get other people involved and that ball movement helped us out."

After Deron Williams cut the Jazz deficit to 52-41 with 1:44 remaining, the Spurs ended the period on a 6-0 spurt, capped by a shot from the arc by Barry, giving them a 58-41 halftime lead. San Antonio made 5-of-8 3-pointers in the quarter.

"Every time we started making a run, they made a 3-pointer," Williams said. "They made big baskets. Barry and Finley stepped up and hit shots. We didn't do a good job of defending the arc tonight and it cost us."

Ginobili, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen and Brent Barry all made three 3-pointers for the Spurs, who finished 13-of-26 from 3-point range.

"Being up 2-0 just looks good on paper," Bowen said. "If we go on the road and lose there, it's no longer a big deal. You have to give a consistent effort"

The previous record was 12 against the Sacramento Kings in Game Two of the 2006 Western Conference first round.

San Antonio, which shot 54 percent in Game One, topped that by connecting on a 2007 playoff-high 56 percent (40-of-72) in this contest.

"They started making shots and executing their offense," Kirilenko said. We struggled defensively. It's the same type of game as Sunday. We need to do something about it."

San Antonio was in control throughout despite a strong game by Carlos Boozer, who rebounded from a 20-point, 7-of-17 performance in Game One, to finish with 33 points and 15 rebounds.

Trailing by as many as 22 points in the third quarter and 16 entering the final period, Utah cut its deficit to 83-76 on two free throws by Andrei Kirilenko with 8:45 left.

"We tried to come back I don't know how many times," Boozer said. "We cut it down to maybe seven or eight. You guys know better than I do. But it just seemed like right when we needed a stop, they got a layup, they got a 3-pointer and the lead jumped right back up."

However, the Spurs responded with a 10-3 burst over the next 2:29, ending it with a jumper by Finley for a 93-79 lead with 6:16 remaining.

Williams, who had a playoff career-high 34 points in Game One, had 26 along with 10 assists for Utah, which shot 44 percent (36-of-82).

Kirilenko scored 15 points and Mehmet Okur scored 11 for the Jazz, who are 1-10 all-time after losing the first two games of a series. However, Utah rebounded from 0-2 vs. Houston in the first round this season.

    UTAH 96

    May 22 11:35 PM

    UTAH 65

    May 22 10:55 PM

    UTAH 41

    May 22 10:06 PM

    UTAH 24

    May 22 9:32 PM
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