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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Manu, Spurs eliminate Mavericks

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Manu Ginobili stepped off the podium and bumped into Dirk Nowitzki. They shook hands. Nowitzki gave his longtime foe a congratulatory slap on the back and Ginobili disappeared down the hallway.

News photo
Hard-nosed: San Antonio's Manu Ginobili goes up for a shot against Erick Dampier of the Mavericks in Game 6 on Thursday night. The Spurs beat Dallas 97-87 to win the series 4-2. AP PHOTO

He was off to celebrate a playoff series win. Just like old times for the Spurs.

"We're thrilled that we beat them," Ginobili said. "We're really proud of it."

Nowitzki then sat down for a playoff ritual of his own — dissecting yet another first-round failure by the Mavericks.

Ginobili scored 26 points and San Antonio survived blowing a 22-point lead to finish off the Mavericks 97-87 in Game 6 on Thursday night, getting payback after Dallas eliminated the Spurs a year ago in the opening round.

San Antonio will play Phoenix in the West semifinals that start on Monday.

The Mavs, meanwhile, slump away into another too-early summer.

Dallas lost in the first round for the third time in four years. The Mavs head into an interesting offseason for a team that's won 50 games for 10 straight seasons, but has only one trip to the NBA Finals to show for it.

"Going into the playoffs as a No. 2 seed, it is all we could have wanted," Nowitzki said. "We just happened to see a tough No. 7 seed that got rolling at the right time."

Said Mavs guard Jason Terry: "As of right now this season is a failure."

Nowitzki nearly carried the Mavs to an unbelievable comeback, getting 25 of his 33 points in a remarkable second half.

But George Hill, the hero for the Spurs in Game 4, scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to keep the series from going back to Dallas.

San Antonio continues its roll after coming off its worst regular season in the Tim Duncan era, which perhaps makes this series all the more impressive.

It will technically go down as an upset. The Spurs are only the fifth No. 7 seed to win a first-round series, and the first since the opening round became a best-of-seven in 2003. It hadn't been done since New York beat Miami in 1998.

This one is especially tough for team owner Mark Cuban, who plunked down an extra $30 million for a deal at the trade deadline that brought Caron Butler from Washington.

Cuban, who needled San Antonio earlier in the series by saying he hated the Spurs, congratulated them afterward and said he'd root for his Texas rivals the rest of the way.

He followed that up with a cryptic comment.

"I'm not proud of the NBA. I'm not proud of my inability over the last 10 years to have an impact like I want to have," Cuban said. "So I kind of feel like I owe fans an apology. But that's just the way this business goes."

Butler scored 25 points and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois had 16 for the Mavericks.

Suns 99, Blazers 90

In Portland, Jason Richardson scored 28 points, including five 3-pointers, and Phoenix advanced to the second round.

The Suns last went to the second round in 2007, when they got past the Los Angeles Lakers to open the playoffs before falling to the Spurs. In 2008, San Antonio got the best of Phoenix in the first round.

Suns forward Grant Hill, who made his NBA debut in 1994, advanced past the first round for the first time in his career.

The Suns went up 53-41 at halftime and led by as many as 16 points in the second half. The Blazers tied it at 76-76 midway through the fourth quarter, but could not pull ahead.

Martell Webster had 19 points for Portland, which failed to advance out of the first round for the second straight year.

Evans top rookie

SACRAMENTO , Calif. (AP) Tyreke Evans has won hundreds of trophies in his young basketball career and many of them seem to have lost an arm, a basketball or some other piece in his mother's care.

Bonita Evans will have to wait to get the NBA Rookie of the Year trophy Evans won Thursday until some safeguards are in place in the home he is building her in Delaware.

"She's broken too many," Evans said. "I probably have 400 trophies and about a hundred of them broke. I'd come downstairs and she'd try to glue them back together but it was too late. I didn't care about it.

"But the main important trophies, we're going to put them in a glass case for her."

Evans capped his fabulous rookie year for the Sacramento Kings by beating out Golden State's Stephen Curry and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings for the coveted award.

Evans became the fourth rookie ever to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James in an exclusive club.

Evans was the only rookie to appear on all 123 ballots from a media panel, getting 67 first-place votes and 491 total points. Curry was second with 43 first-place votes and 391 points, with Jennings getting 12 first-place votes and 204 points.

Players were awarded five points for a first-place vote, three for a second and one for a third.

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