Spurs advance to final

Agence France Presse

Phoenix, June 2:

San Antonio Spurs eliminated the top seeded Phoenix Suns, advancing to the NBA finals for the second time in three years. Tim Duncan had 31 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Spurs to a 101-95 win as San Antonio clinched the NBA semi-final series in five games. The Suns averted a sweep by winning Game 4 but they were unable to become the first team to win a series after losing the first three. Backstopping the effort was Duncan. He was in the middle of a pivotal defensive stand at the outset of the second half and scored the biggest basket of the game down the stretch. The Spurs had their hands full with Amare Stoudemire, who scored 42 points. Duncan took a lob pass in the lane and drove, tipping in his miss for a five-point lead with 2:14 to go. Robert Horry made a steal and Stoudemire missed a scoop shot rebounded by Duncan, who worked a give-and-go with a wide-open Tony Parker for a layup and a 97-90 bulge with 50 seconds left. Led by Nash, the Suns topped the NBA in scoring this season. Phoenix was held below 106 points just twice in the postseason. San Antonio trailed 50-49 at halftime but forced Phoenix into 2-of-15 shoo-ting and five turnovers over the first 7 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, opening a 69-56 lead. Manu Ginobili had 19 points and Parker scored 18 for Spurs, who will face the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Miami and Detroit.