Manu steps up as Spurs sweep Jazz
Just when the San Antonio Spurs needed a spark to close out the Utah Jazz, Manu Ginobili broke out of his shooting slump scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to lead San Antonio to an 87-81 victory over Utah on Monday night and a sweep of their first-round Western Conference series.
Ginobili was 0-for-8 from 3-point area in the first three games. But after Utah pulled within 61-58 with 3:18 left in the third, he hit consecutive 3-pointers then added another as the Spurs regained control, taking a 76-58 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz went scoreless for more than eight minutes during a 15-0 Spurs run, but made a furious comeback late and was within 83-79 on Al Jefferson's putback with 49 seconds left.
However, a steal by Tony Parker that led to a Ginobili fastbreak layup sealed the win.
Utah's 3 big man lineup with Derrick Favors at power forward kept the Jazz close, but San Antonio's bench made the difference, outscoring the Jazz's reserves 57-10.
The young, inexperienced Jazz put up a fight at the end, but it was too little too late.
With Parker scoring 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting Monday, and starters Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green struggling offensively, the Spurs bench picked up the slack.
The Spurs starters shot 10-of-37 and scored a total of 30 points, while the bench shot 18-of-37 and scored 57 points.
"We've been a deeper team this year than we usually are and it sure came in handy tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Ginobili, who missed 32 games because of injury in the regular season, shot just 6-of-26 in the first three games but came up big when the Spurs needed him most.
Tim Duncan added 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks and was the only other starter in double figures for the Spurs.
Gary Neal scored 11 points, Tiago Splitter had 10 points and Stephen Jackson chipped in eight points off the bench.
Jefferson led Utah with 26 points on 13-of-19 shooting, and had 10 rebounds.
Devin Harris added 19 points but shot just 6-of-17. Favors, making his first postseason start, added 16 points and two blocked shots.
Regarded as Utah's X-Factor in this series, Gordon Hayward went scoreless in their elimination game, going 0-for-7 from the floor.
Dating back to the regular season, the Spurs are on a 14-game winning streak and looked primed for deep playoff run this time around.
San Antonio advanced to the second round and will await the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies-Los Angeles Clippers series, which may not be settled until Sunday.
(AP Photo/Colin E Braley)