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1999 NBA Playoffs

Sean was on

Elliott's 3-pointer gives Spurs 86-85 win over Blazers

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Posted: Wednesday June 02, 1999 01:49 PM

  Tim Duncan's (left) 23 points and five blocked shots kept the Spurs close, enabling Sean Elliott to steal Game 2. AP

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- In one magnificent minute, Sean Elliott went from third banana to miracle man.

With all the talk of San Antonio's Twin Towers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson, Elliott and his silky-smooth jumper often are overlooked. But he stood bigger than anybody on Monday.

Elliott made six of seven 3-pointers, two in the final minute. His last one, off-balance and from his tip-toes, came with nine seconds left to give the Spurs an 86-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

"When I caught it, I thought I was going to fall out of bounds," Elliott said.

But it was one of those nights that shooters love.

"I felt good the whole game," Elliott said. "Sometimes you get in a situation where you feel that you can't miss."

The Spurs, who trailed by 18 points in the third quarter, led only once -- at the finish.

Hot shots, cool hands from Blazers-Spurs Game 2
Sean Elliott: 22 pts., 8-of-10 FG, (6-of-7 3-pt. FG)
Tim Duncan: 23 pts., 10 rebs.
Arvydas Sabonis: 17 pts., 7-of-7 FT

Damon Stoudamire: 15 pts., 7-of-15 FG, 1-of-2 FT (missed FT would have given Blazers a 3-point lead with 12 seconds left.)
Steve Kerr: 0 pts., 0-of-5 FG, (0-of-3 3-pt. FG)
Jaren Jackson: 0 pts., 0-of-5 FG, (0-of-3 3-pt. FG)

"In a word, I would probably say gut-wrenching," Portland coach Mike Dunleavy said.

The Spurs have won eight straight postseason games and have a 2-0 lead in this best-of-7 series, which won't resume until Friday at Portland's Rose Garden.

"This gives us a tremendous amount of confidence," Elliott said, "and it has to break them a little."

Damon Stoudamire, who scored 15 points for the Blazers, missed one of two free throws with 12 seconds to play to keep the door open for San Antonio.

The Spurs called a timeout.

"We came out of the huddle with a couple of options," Spurs guard Mario Elie said. "Sean looked at me and said, 'I've got one more in me.' I got him the ball, and sure enough, he had another bullet."

Elliott barely avoided a steal attempt by Stacey Augmon, then let go from his tip-toes as Rasheed Wallace lunged toward him.

"If he goes down on his heels, he's out of bounds," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

The ball went in and the packed Alamodome crowd of 35,260 went wild.

"From where I was, it looked like it was off," Stoudamire said. "But that just seems to be the luck this team has when we play them. You just don't have an answer for when a guy hits a shot like that."

Jim Jackson was stopped on a baseline drive, and Walt Williams missed on the rebound in the final seconds as Elliott chipped in with some crucial defense on the play.

It was the fifth time Portland has lost to the Spurs in six games this season, and each loss has gone down to the wire.

"We're so sick and tired of losing to this team right now. They've become a thorn in our side," Stoudamire said. "But by no means is this series over. We still feel good about ourselves and we still feel we can win this series."

Duncan had 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Spurs, while Elliott added 22 on 8-of-10 shooting, his best ever in the playoffs. Robinson scored 14 points and had the game's biggest steal.

Arvydas Sabonis, who had only five points in Portland's 80-76 loss in Game 1 Saturday, had 17 points for the Blazers, while Wallace, saddled with foul trouble all game, had 13 points.

Elliott's 3-pointer with a minute to go cut the Blazers' lead to 84-81. On Portland's next possession, Robinson stole the ball from Wallace at the top of the key. Elie was fouled by Williams on the subsequent layup, and made both free throws to cut the lead to 84-83.

Stoudamire missed a jumper, but Williams got the rebound. The Spurs had a foul to give. They fouled Jackson quickly, then fouled Stoudamire to send him to the line.

He missed the first free throw, swore loudly at himself, then made the second to put Portland ahead 85-83 with 12 seconds to go.

Portland shot out to a 21-10 lead, was up by 17 points in the second quarter and stretched it to 18 early in the third. The Spurs used a 17-2 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 54-51.

After Sabonis hit a 20-footer and Stoudamire followed with a 17-footer to start the second half, the Blazers had their biggest lead, 52-34.

But the Spurs roared to life with an outburst that began an ended with 3-pointers by Elliott.

Avery Johnson, who missed his first seven shots, made two jumpers during the run and Elie added a 3-pointer and layup. Meanwhile, Wallace and Brian Grant both went to the bench with four fouls.

Duncan's three-point play, followed by Robinson's reverse layup, cut Portland's lead to 73-72 with 5:25 to play. But Jackson made a 3-pointer from the corner just before the shot clock expired to make it 76-72, then followed with a layup, his only points of the game, and Portland led 78-72 with 4:26 to go.

Wallace made two jumpers and Stoudamire hit a 15-footer to put Portland ahead 84-76 with 1:59 to play.

Notes: The Blazers outrebounded the Spurs 13-5 in the first quarter and 42-35 for the game. ... Portland used 11 players in the game's first 18 1/2 minutes. ... The 11th player for Portland, Jermaine O'Neal, had five points and four rebounds in six minutes of the second quarter. ... Robinson passed George Gervin as San Antonio's career playoff scoring leader. ... San Antonio's guards shot 1-for-16 in the first half. ... Bothered by a sore right knee, Portland's Isaiah Rider was 1-for-4 for three points and didn't play in the fourth quarter. ... Stoudamire had seven assists and seven turnovers. ... Duncan was only 7-for-13 at the foul line. ... Portland's starters were 9-for-11 at the foul line. The only misses were one by Wallace and the big one by Stoudamire.

Related information
Duncan, Robinson lead Spurs past Blazers in Game 1
Rider, Blazers ready to tussle with Spurs
SI's Marty Burns previews the NBA Western Conference finals
Elie's defense on Rider boosted Spurs in Game 1
Phil Taylor's NBA Mailbag: Going with the favorites to the finals
Trail Blazers-Spurs Game 2 Summary
Sean Elliott's last-gasp shot put the Spurs over the top. (1.24 M)
Sean Elliott narrates his heroic game-winning shot.
  • Start(454 K .MOV)
CNNSI's Alex English gets the lowdown on Elliott's state of mind. (437 K)
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