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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Spurs sweep Clippers
Veterans shine as San Antonio extends win streak to 18
INDIANAPOLIS — The San Antonio Spurs mowed down another opponent, using their guile under pressure to close out another perfect playoff series.
Tim Duncan scored 21 points, Tony Parker added 17 and the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 on Sunday night to win their second-round matchup 4-0 and advance to the Western Conference finals.
"They played great, they made it tough on us," Parker said. "The last 2 minutes we got the stops we needed. Everybody did something."
The Spurs extended their winning streak to 18 games and their playoff record to 8-0, tying the third-best postseason streak in franchise history.
"Until we go all the way, I can't compare this team," said Parker, who has won three NBA titles with San Antonio. "We're just trying to stay focused."
Danny Green and Gary Neal added 14 points each, and Manu Ginobili and Thiago Splitter had 11 each for the Spurs.
San Antonio could find out as soon as Monday night who it will play next. Oklahoma City leads the Lakers 3-1 in their series, with Game 5 on Monday.
"We haven't done anything yet. We've won two rounds," Duncan said. "We haven't done anything so you can't qualify or classify our team as anything other than that we've gotten this far."
The Spurs trailed much of the fourth until tying the game twice in the final 3:32 before their 30-something trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili took over most of the scoring.
"Their experience showed with their execution," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Tim looks great and the rest of the guys are feeding off that."
Chris Paul had 23 points and 11 assists, Blake Griffin added 21 points, and Eric Bledsoe had 17 for Los Angeles, which blew a six-point lead in the fourth quarter when Paul faltered in the final two minutes, usually a time when the All-Star guard is at his best.
Both nursing injuries, Griffin and Paul combined to score 21 of the Clippers' 28 points in the third quarter when they took their first lead of the game. In the fourth, Bledsoe came up big, scoring 11 in a row, to extend the lead to 90-85 with 5:38 remaining.
Heat 101, Pacers 93
In Indianapolis, LeBron James scored 40 points with 18 rebounds and nine assists, and Dwyane Wade added 30 points — 22 in the second half — as Miami rallied to even its semifinal series against the Pacers, who had the defending Eastern Conference champions down but couldn't keep them there.
"I felt like I had to do whatever it took to win," said James, who played all but four minutes.
With All-Star forward Chris Bosh injured and back in Florida, the James-Wade tag team saved the Heat, who will host Game 5 on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"Me and 'Bron had it going," said Wade, who bounced back from the worst playoff game of his career — five points on 2-of-13 shooting — with one of his best, "We played off of each other very well. We both were aggressive at the same time. That's beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way."
The Heat now head home back in control of the best-of-seven series, which is down to a best-of-three with two of the games on Miami's home floor.