for this game

Jazz fall flat as Spurs cruise to NBA Finals

May 31, 2007 - 5:57 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were not about to let the Utah Jazz break an eight-year drought with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

Duncan and Parker each scored 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs locked up a trip to the Finals with a 109-84 victory over the Jazz in Game Five of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday night.

San Antonio won the series, 4-1, and now awaits either the Detroit Pistons or Cleveland Cavaliers. The Eastern Conference final is tied, 2-2, with Game Five slated for Thursday in Detroit.

"Of course we're thrilled to have the opportunity to go to the Finals," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "We're thrilled to be going where we're going."

The Spurs snapped a nine-game postseason losing streak in Salt Lake City by winning Game Four. They obviously had no desire to go back to Utah for Game Six, jumping out to a huge early lead and never letting the Jazz back into the game.

While the Spurs were able to end their jinx in Utah to take command of the series, the Jazz continued to have no luck here. Utah now has lost 19 straight games in San Antonio and has not won here since 1999.

San Antonio came out on a mission, racing to a 34-15 lead and never letting up.

The 34 points were the most San Antonio had scored in the first quarter of a playoff game this season.

"Our first quarter was unbelievable," Parker said. "I can't remember since I have been with the Spurs shooting the ball like that. Our defense was great, our offense was great, everybody was knocking down shots."

The Spurs will be a handful for whichever team they face in their fourth trip to the Finals since 1999, as they boast a deadly trio of capable scorers in Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili. They each reached double figures in the first half as San Antonio jumped to a 55-39 lead.

"They got a great start and they just came at us really hard," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We lost faith as far as anything we wanted to do. They destroyed our will to want to play. They put us where they wanted us all night long."

Parker led the first-half blitz with 14 points. Ginobili had 12 and Duncan 11 as the outcome was a formality over the final two quarters.

Parker, Duncan and Ginobili took the fourth quarter off with the game in hand but they were at their best in the first 12 minutes.

Utah pulled within 16-11 on a 3-pointer by Deron Williams with 5:33 left in the first but San Antonio responded with a 14-0 spurt. Parker started the run with a layup, free throw and a pair of jumpers. He then threw an ally-oop to Duncan for a thunderous dunk and capped the run with a layup after Bruce Bowen hit a 3-pointer.

The Jazz ended the spurt with four quick points before Ginobili scored the last four of the quarter.

"It was great to start the way we started," Duncan said. "We just took control and kept control. It was a good game all-around and just a great way to start."

Not only could the Jazz not stop the Spurs' main weapons, but they continuously misfired themselves in the first half. San Antonio shot 54 percent (21-of-39) from the field in the first half while Utah was 13-of-40 (33 percent).

In case Utah had any thoughts of a comeback, San Antonio came out with just as much intensity to start the second half. The Spurs put the game completely out of reach in the third quarter, outscoring Utah, 28-17, to take an 83-56 lead.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 13 points and Williams and Matt Harpring each had 11 for Utah, which overcame an 0-2 deficit against Houston in the first round but had no such luck against the Spurs.

Much of the talk entering the playoffs was centered around the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. Dallas had the best record in the league and Phoenix was an offensive power, but it is the steady Spurs who are left standing in the West.

While it is not a complete surprise the Spurs are the Western Conference champs, Williams was disappointed that the Jazz did not put up more of a fight.

"There were some guys that were already on vacation. Point blank, on vacation. A long time ago," he said. "There are definitely some guys not on the same page, not just in this game, but in the entire series. It's frustrating the way we came out to start the ballgame.

"They just took it to us from the start. You'd think we could put up a better fight than that in probably the most important game of our careers."

    UTAH 84

    May 30 11:36 PM

    UTAH 56

    May 30 11:01 PM

    UTAH 39

    May 30 10:11 PM

    UTAH 15

    May 30 9:30 PM