SAN ANTONIO -- It will be the San Antonio Spurs moving onward in the NBA playoffs.
The defending Western Conference champions totally dominated the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon, winning Game 7 of this best-of-seven series, 119-96, before a sellout crowd at the AT&T Center.
While the Mavs ended their season when they lost this best-of-seven series, 4-3, the Spurs will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and Thursday in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 32 points, Manu Ginobili scored 20, Danny Green poured in 16, and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard added 15 points apiece.
Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavs with 22 points on 8-of-21 shooting, and also grabbed nine rebounds in 36 minutes. In addition for the Mavs, Devin Harris scored 17 points, Monta Ellis battled foul issues and finished with 12 points, and Vince Carter tallied 10 points.
The Spurs came out like their pants were on fire and never let up. With Parker dancing around and scoring six points, the Spurs led 16-7 with the game less than six minutes old.
San Antonio just kept steamrolling the hapless Mavs from there as they showed why they're the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
At the half, the Spurs' trio of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker were already proving their dominance as they had combined for 47 points at that juncture on 18-of-23 FGs. Meanwhile, as a team the Mavs had 46 points on 18-of-42 field goals by halftime, when they trailed 68-46.
The Spurs somply were knocked the Mavs all over the place in the first period, which ended with San Antonio ahead 35-23. Then the Spurs opened up the flood gates by using an 18-4 surge at the outset of the second period to vault ahead 53-27 with 7:22 to go before intermission.
When Parker wasn't causing the Mavs headaches, his main partners in crime -- Duncan and Ginobili -- were the ones who were just absolutely punishing the Mavs seemingly every trip up the court.
Meanwhile, Ellis stayed in constant foul trouble throughout the first half. But coach Rick Carlisle took the drastic step of putting Ellis back in the game with three fouls in the second period because the game was getting out of hand.
Then, after their meltdown in the first half the Mavs needed some added scoring punch. So Carlisle started Harris and Carter in the second half in place of Shawn Marion and Samuel Dalembert.
That strategy worked for a little while as a bucket by Carter got the Mavs within 14 points, and later on a basket by Harris closed the deficit to 77-63 with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter.
But Duncan, Parker and Ginobili went back to work and the Spurs were back up 91-65 with 1:43 left in the third period.
The Spurs shot 56.8 percent from the field to 40.9 percent for the Mavs.
-- Dwain Price
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