Slow at the start of the series and strong at the end, the San Antonio Spurs wore out the Golden State Warriors the way they have so many...
OAKLAND, Calif. — Slow at the start of the series and strong at the end, the San Antonio Spurs wore out the Golden State Warriors the way they have so many other opponents.
Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to beat the Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 on Thursday night and advance to the Western Conference finals.
“They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Tony Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff-high 14 points for San Antonio, which had a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes.
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Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury saddled Warriors finally tired. Former Cougars star Klay Thompson had 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
Rookie forward Harrison Barnes also suffered a head injury in the second quarter, returned in the third and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded them 46 to 40.
Second-seeded San Antonio will open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games.
“It’s going to be a rough one,” Duncan said about the conference finals. “If you thought this was physical, it’s going to turn up about 10 notches.”
The Spurs lost to the Thunder in the conference finals in six games last season after going ahead 2-0 at home. They haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 2007, when they won their fourth title with a sweep of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I think everybody on the team, we all want to go one more time,” Parker said. “It’s been a long time.”
Knicks stay alive
NEW YORK — For the New York Knicks, it was about playing harder, even if not really much better.
Saving their season would be more about effort than execution.
“Tonight it was just one of them days where you just got to leave it out there on the basketball court,” Carmelo Anthony said.
Now they have to do it two more times.
Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.
J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a win Saturday in Indiana to force a seventh game. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
“I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Anthony, who didn’t make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.
Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers.
• Ousted NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter alleges in a lawsuit filed in California that president Derek Fisher had a secret deal with owners during the 2011 lockout that benefited himself, his publicist and certain players. Hunter contends that Fisher undermined Hunter’s efforts to make an agreement and interfered with his position by secretly negotiating with select owners in violation of union bylaws.