Spurs, Pacers eye place in finals

ON THE BRINK::The Knicks lost for the fifth time in seven games and the Warriors misfired, leaving both the Pacers and Spurs one win short of the conference finals


Thu, May 16, 2013 - Page 20

San Antonio held the Golden State Warriors’ vaunted backcourt to a miserly 13 points, laying the foundation for a 109-91 victory on Tuesday that gave the Spurs a 3-2 lead in the NBA Western Conference semi-finals.

The Indiana Pacers also moved within one win of a place in the conference finals by beating the New York Knicks, taking a 3-1 lead.

San Antonio’s Tony Parker had 25 points and 10 assists, while Kawhi Leonard added 17 points. Danny Green scored 16, and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs.

However, the story of the game was who did not score, much.

Described by coach Mark Jackson as the “greatest shooting backcourt” in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were held to six-for-22 shooting.

Curry finished with nine points, going one for seven on three-pointers, while Thompson was held to four points, not even attempting a three.

Curry has not missed any time since turning his right ankle late in Game 3, but the injury seemed to limit his explosiveness.

Leonard stripped Curry and then outran him to the ball midway through the first quarter, feeding Parker for an uncontested layup. Curry appeared to grimace when he attempted to push off to sprint for the loose ball.

Harrison Barnes scored 25 points, while Jarrett Jack added 20 and Carl Landry 16 for Golden State. No other Warriors player had more than nine points.

The Spurs led for all but the opening six minutes of the game.

San Antonio went on a 12-2 run to take a 102-84 lead with four minutes remaining.

The Warriors missed two shots and had two turnovers to facilitate the Spurs’ run.

San Antonio shot 72 percent in the first quarter, pounding the ball inside for layups and kick-outs to open shooters in taking a 10-point lead.

Duncan battered Andrew Bogut early, making San Antonio’s first three baskets on a drive and a jumper over the Australian, and on a layup against Landry off a hard pick by Tiago Splitter.

San Antonio went on a 15-0 run on a series of drives to the basket and low-post moves, taking a 27-15 lead.

Curry and Thompson were held to a combined four points on two-for-10 shooting in the opening 16 minutes, but Barnes had 13 points and Jack seven.

Curry did not make his first three until there were two minutes left in the first half.

The Spurs stopped going inside in the second quarter, helping Golden State rally.

The Spurs returned to attacking the basket in the third, resulting in another double-digit lead.

Meanwhile, Indiana’s George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George added 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Pacers to a 93-82 victory over New York.

Indiana need one more win to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2004. Game 5 is scheduled for today at Madison Square Garden.

NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony fouled out with 24 points. J.R. Smith had 19 on another dreadful night for the Knicks.

The game followed a familiar pattern. New York’s shooting was off, Indiana had a huge rebounding edge and the Knicks could not challenge in the second half.

New York did not hang around long, either. Indiana closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run to break a 14-14 tie. New York never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Indiana improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and has won each time by double digits. The Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies are the only teams that have not lost at home during the postseason.

However, this was not just another off night for New York, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.

New York shot just 35.6 percent from the field, 28.6 percent on three-pointers and was outrebounded this time 54-36.

At times, the Knicks lost their composure, too.

Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire combined to play 42 minutes in the first half and had a grand total of seven points, nine rebounds and nine fouls — three apiece. Chandler and Stoudemire each drew technicals and Smith was fortunate not to get another after being called for a charge.

Coach Mike Woodson complained multiple times with the officials and backup Quentin Richardson even smacked the press table with his hand after a non-call late in the first quarter.

Indiana, which has won five of its last six, dictated for the final three quarters.

New York tied the score at 14 with 3:38 left in the first quarter, then allowed the Pacers to go ahead 23-16 after one.

The Knicks never led in the game and never tied it again.

Indiana extended the lead to 30-19 early in the second quarter before Anthony tried single-handedly to rally his teammates. He produced the Knicks’ next seven points and when Raymond Felton scored on a layup with 4:08 left in the half, New York cut the deficit to 35-30.

However, the Pacers thwarted that rally by scoring six straight points and pulled away to take a 48-34 halftime lead.

Even when it looked like the Knicks might challenge in the third and fourth quarters, the Pacers had all the answers.

When New York trimmed the lead to 69-61 in the fourth, Indiana ran off five straight and eventually put it away.