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Duncan Gets Last Shot, Last Laugh

April 07, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan's biggest contribution of the fourth quarter came when it counted most.

Duncan's only field goal of the fourth period was an 18-foot jumper over Dirk Nowitzki with two seconds left to lift the San Antonio Spurs to an 89-87 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday in front of 34,739 at the Alamodome in a showdown of Midwest Division leaders.

The Spurs moved within half a game of the division-leading Mavericks, and have an easier schedule down the stretch.

Dallas (52-23) has seven games remaining, five against playoff-bound teams. San Antonio (52-24) has six left, three against teams heading to the postseason.

Duncan led all scorers with 33 points, but scored just 11 points in the second half.

"I've been having some really horrible second halves lately," he said. "That shot was huge for me."

Nowitzki, who finished with 26 points and 21 rebounds, second-guessed his defensive tactics on the final play.

"I probably should have played him closer and made him drive," he said.

San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich said the win was a matter of simply hanging on as Dallas charged back from a nine-point deficit in the last three minutes.

"We were fortunate enough to have the ball last," Popovich said.

Nick Van Exel led Dallas with 27 points, including 19 in the second half.

With 15 seconds remaining, Van Exel was fouled while shooting a three-pointer. He made three free throws to bring Dallas within 86-85.

Duncan made one of two free throws and Nowitzki hit a jumper that tied the score at 87 with eight seconds remaining before Duncan hit the game-winner.

Dallas point guard Steve Nash, who is averaging 19 points and eight assists, left the game at halftime with a stomach ailment.

He was scoreless with two assists in 18 minutes.

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