SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan and Tony Parker wasted no time showing how serious the San Antonio Spurs were about getting back into the NBA finals — immediately.
Duncan and Parker powered an early 14-0 spurt that featured perhaps the most dominant stretch the Spurs have played all postseason and the Utah Jazz never recovered, letting San Antonio cruise to a 109-84 victory Wednesday night and into the championship round for the third time in five years.
The Spurs took all the suspense out of it by taking a 23-point lead early in the second quarter. Although Utah got an emotional lift at halftime when Derek Fisher arrived from New York, where his infant daughter was getting medical care for a rare eye condition, the only thing in doubt by then was whether San Antonio will play Detroit or Cleveland in the finals.
The title series begins a week from today in San Antonio, regardless of who comes out of the East. The Pistons-Cavaliers series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 tonight in Detroit.
Having a nine-day layoff before the next round was part of the motivation behind San Antonio’s get-it-over-with approach to Game 5. After all, the Spurs have the oldest roster in the league, so they’re both wise enough to value not giving the underdogs any hope and eager to avoid playing another trip to Salt Lake City.
San Antonio led only 16-11 when the game-breaking stretch began with Parker cutting through several big guys and making a tough layup. Over the next 2:13, Parker had seven more points, plus a perfect lob that Duncan slammed with as much authority as he ever does.