Ginobili, Spurs have Jazz on brink of eliminationMay 29, 2007 - 6:10 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) The San Antonio Spurs finally broke through at the right time.
Manu Ginobili scored 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Tim Duncan collected 19, nine rebounds and five blocks as the Spurs posted a 91-79 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game Four of the Western Conference finals on Monday.
Tony Parker scored 17 points and Fabricio Oberto had his first career playoff double-double with 11 and 11 boards for San Antonio, which had been 0-9 all-time at Utah in the playoffs.
"It's huge for us, especially in this series as is. It could have been a tight series and a whole new ballgame," Duncan said. "We've put them in a hole now with a 3-1 lead going back to our house. It's a great position to be in."
With a win in Wednesday's Game Five, the Spurs will be headed back to the NBA Finals for the fourth time in 11 seasons under coach Gregg Popovich.
San Antonio bounced back after getting thrashed by 26 points here in Game Three. The Spurs improved to 6-4 in games following a defeat by at least 12 points in the playoffs since the 2002-03 campaign.
"We wanted to come out with better energy this game. Last game, we didn't play with any sense of urgency," Spurs forward Bruce Bowen said. "We understand that we don't want to come back here because of the way this team plays here at home. They get up for each and every game here."
After cutting an 11-point third-quarter deficit to just one, the Jazz continued to keep it close in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump.
Carlos Boozer's 14-footer kept the score a one-point contest, 67-66, with 9:41 remaining, but that was as close as Utah got.
"At that point it was getting really tough for us. They had a nice streak, fans were going nuts and they looked inspired," Ginobili said. "I don't remember what happened exactly to get us going, but I'm very proud of what we did in the fourth quarter. It was looking ugly for us and we really stepped up and did a great job."
Duncan drained two free throws and Parker scored on a fast-break layup to cap a 9-2 burst, as the Spurs took a 76-68 edge with 6:37 remaining.
The Jazz cut the deficit to 76-72 on Mehmet Okur's jumper one minute later, but San Antonio created a double-figure lead when Ginobili sank all three free throws after being fouled by Derek Fisher on a 3-pointer.
Free throws seemed to be the theme throughout the final period. San Antonio shot an astounding 25 foul shots compared to Utah's two. Ginobili made 11 foul shots in the period.
"You know I'm not going to say anything about the officials," Utah guard Deron Williams said. "We played a pretty solid game until the fourth quarter. Some things didn't go our way. We didn't make some plays down the stretch, and they did. That's how it goes sometimes."
The Jazz were clearly frustrated as San Antonio's lead ballooned in the fourth quarter. Coach Jerry Sloan and guard Derek Fisher both were ejected in the final minutes. Utah picked up five technical fouls overall.
"I don't talk about those because all that does is give me more trouble," Sloan said. "We just couldn't keep them off the free-throw line."
The loss of composure wasn't just limited to Utah's players and coaches - it extended into the seats as well. A few fans began throwing objects onto the court at one point during the fourth quarter. Bowen said a container of lip balm was thrown at him.
After missing practice and Monday's shootaround due to the stomach flu, Williams was once again impressive, finishing with 27 points and 10 assists for the Jazz.
A game-time decision, Williams' play on Monday was reminiscent of Michael Jordan's Game Five performance during the 1997 NBA Finals, when he battled a stomach virus to score 38 points in the Chicago Bulls' 90-88 victory here.
Williams and Boozer were essentially the only offensive weapons for the Jazz, who got an uncharacteristic total of nine points from their reserves.
Utah All-Star Okur continued to struggle, scoring seven points before eventually fouling out. He is averaging seven points in the series.
Williams poured in six points during an impressive 11-4 surge to close out the third quarter that pulled the Jazz within 63-62. Utah outscored San Antonio, 20-13, in the period.
SAN ANTONIO 91
UTAH 79 FINAL
May 28 11:39 PM
SAN ANTONIO 63
UTAH 62 END, 3RD QTR
May 28 10:59 PM
SAN ANTONIO 50
UTAH 42 HALFTIME
May 28 10:14 PM
SAN ANTONIO 21
UTAH 20 END, 1ST QTR
May 28 9:36 PM
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