Tim Duncan bagged 32 points Wednesday as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Texas Mavericks 119-106 in a tempestuous Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The Spurs evened the series with Game 3 set for Friday at Dallas.
"We definitely lost our composure, but we knew coming in how it would be," Mavericks guard Nick Van Exel said. "Our focus was to keep fighting though it and play through it as best we could, but tonight it just got the best of us."
Following a Game 1 that featured 72 personal fouls and 98 free throws, notoriously hot tempered referee Joey Crawford called four technical fouls in the first 10:11.
Two of the fouls came in rapid succession during a timeout when Don Nelson tried to engage Crawford in a staredown and did not heed his order to return to his bench. Assistant coach Del Harris was ejected by Crawford late in the second quarter after he walked onto the court to protest a non-call against Duncan for playing illegal defense.
"Don [Nelson] walked up to half court. I never told him to sit down because that's not my job to tell him to sit down. I told him to go coach his team, and he said `No, I'm not going to.' So I hit him with one," Crawford told a pool reporter. "I said `Go coach your team.' He said `I'm staying right here.' So, bang, I threw him.
"Del Harris was different," Crawford said. "Del Harris came to my partner [Ted Bernhardt] at a timeout and said that he was going to get ejected, and to eject him on one [technical] which isn't unusual. This has happened in the history of the NBA where a coach has walked up to a referee and said eject me. So we eject him.''
The Spurs went to the line 28 times in the first half and made 26, with Malik Rose going 13-for-14 while shooting a majority of the technicals.
The second half consisted of little more than waiting to see if any more individual technical fouls would be called -- none were -- and whether the Mavericks could make an improbable comeback with assistant coach Donn Nelson Jr. running the team.
Rose finished with 25 points, Tony Parker had 19, Stephen Jackson 17. San Antonio made 37 of 45 free throws.
"It is tough being in a situation where you're up so much and are trying to play the clock out, basically," Duncan said. "We talked about trying to win the game instead of sustain the lead."
Michael Finley led the Mavericks with 29 points and Nowitzki had 23.
Things started going poorly for Dallas midway through the first quarter -- and they quickly got much worse.
Dirk Nowitzki was called for his second foul with 7:39 remaining in the period for slapping at the ball as Duncan went up for a shot. Nowitzki turned to Crawford to complain, and Crawford immediately gave him a technical foul.