|Spurs win series 4-2|
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Spurs are moving on, and the Mavericks are done early again.
Manu Ginobili scored 26 and San Antonio survived blowing a 22-point lead to beat the Mavericks 97-87 in Game 6 on Thursday, handing Dirk Nowitzki and second-seeded Dallas another first-round exit.
"For us, there was no tomorrow," Ginobili said of wanting to avoid going back to Dallas for a Game 7.
The Spurs, eliminated by the Mavs last season, play Phoenix or Portland in the West semifinals.
After trailing 22-8 after the first quarter and later by 22, Nowitzki nearly carried Dallas to a comeback. He scored 25 of his 33 in the second half, giving the Mavs a short-lived 57-56 lead with a 3-pointer midway through the third. But Dallas stumbled to its third first-round exit in the past four seasons.
"Dirk was spectacular," coach Rick Carlisle said. "As much as I'm disappointed for the team and (owner) Mark (Cuban) and myself, I'm even more disappointed for Dirk, because a lot of this was about trying to get him to a point that he could realize a dream. This is a tough blow."
San Antonio is the fifth No. 7 seed to win a first-round series and the first since the first round became a best-of-seven in 2003. It hadn't been done since New York beat Miami in 1998.
The Mavs were the NBA's best road team in the regular season but went 0-3 in San Antonio.
Caron Butler scored 25 for the Mavs and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois provided a surprise 16. But aside from them and Nowitzki, no other Dallas player scored more than six.
Spurs rookie forward DeJuan Blair ran his car off the interstate on the way to the game, hitting a guard rail and swerving into a ditch. He wasn't injured.
DALLAS (87): Marion 3-8 0-0 6, Nowitzki 13-21 5-6 33, Haywood 1-2 0-0 2, Kidd 1-6 0-0 3, Butler 9-18 6-6 25, Terry 1-7 0-0 2, Najera 0-1 0-0 0, Barea 0-3 0-0 0, Dampier 0-1 0-0 0, Beaubois 7-13 1-3 16. Totals 35-80 12-15 87.
SAN ANTONIO (97): Jefferson 2-5 3-4 7, Duncan 8-17 1-7 17, McDyess 4-6 0-0 8, Ginobili 7-19 10-12 26, Hill 7-12 5-6 21, Parker 5-12 0-2 10, Blair 2-3 0-0 4, Bonner 2-4 0-0 4, Bogans 0-0 0-0 0, Mahinmi 0-0 0-0 0, Temple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-78 19-31 97.
3-Point Goals—Dallas 5-20 (Nowitzki 2-4, Beaubois 1-3, Kidd 1-4, Butler 1-5, Najera 0-1, Barea 0-1, Terry 0-2), San Antonio 4-12 (Hill 2-4, Ginobili 2-6, Bonner 0-1, Parker 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Dallas 48 (Kidd 8), San Antonio 53 (Duncan 10). Assists—Dallas 15 (Kidd 6), San Antonio 23 (Parker 8). Total Fouls—Dallas 27, San Antonio 17. Technicals—Butler. A—18,581 (18,797).
James practices, set to face Celtics
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — LeBron James shot left-handed layups and short jumpers at practice, but the Cavaliers superstar is not expected to miss any games because of his strained right elbow and bone bruise.
James was re-examined late Wednesday, and X-rays and an MRI exam revealed the injuries.
"The best thing about it is there's no structural damage," said James, who shot a free throw left-handed late in Tuesday's victory over the Bulls. "The docs have given me clearance that I can't hurt it worse."
Cleveland opens its East semifinal against Boston on Saturday. And Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is preparing for the same player who averaged 36.5 points against them in four games this season.
"He's okay," Rivers said. "If he goes three or four games and shoots left-handed only, then I'll believe it's hurting."
Nuggets: Center Nene was diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, not a torn ACL as initially feared. And he might play in Game 7 if Denver beats Utah tonight. Nene, who averaged 13.8 points and seven rebounds in the first four games, had a knee-to-knee collision with Utah's Carlos Boozer during Wednesday's Game 5.
Rookie of the year: Kings point guard Tyreke Evans, who joined Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only rookies to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, won. The fourth overall pick out of Memphis led all rookies at 20.1 points per game, was second at 5.8 assists and fifth at 5.3 rebounds. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was second and Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings third in media voting.