Porter's free throws help Spurs thwart Mavs' rally 105-103Posted: Saturday January 05, 2002 11:21 PM
Updated: Sunday January 06, 2002 1:44 AM
Ten days after an agonizing overtime loss in San Antonio, Porter pulled the Spurs past the Mavericks by scoring 22 points, including two free throws with 5.1 seconds left for a 105-103 victory Saturday night.
"Terry Porter's been huge for years now and he did great for us tonight," said Tim Duncan, who had 29 points and 17 rebounds. "He's a big-game and a big-shot player, and he showed it."
Porter, a 17-year veteran, was needed because Duncan fouled out with 1:49 left and David Robinson failed to make a 103-95 lead hold up in his absence.
Dallas scored eight in a row to tie the game with 9.3 seconds left on a tip-in by Dirk Nowitzki, who had 28 points and 14 rebounds. Robinson missed two free throws and committed an offensive foul during the Mavs' run.
With their Midwest Division lead on the line, the Spurs inbounded the ball to Porter and as he drove to the basket he knocked heads with Dallas' Steve Nash. Nash came away from the collision with a foul and a bloody gash over his left eyebrow.
"It's easy to second guess," Nash said. "Sometimes, that's the way it goes."
Porter's first foul shot rolled around the rim, skipped onto the glass and dropped in. He swished his second to match his most points since April 2000.
"I just tend to really focus on my routine and focus on the rim like I normally do," Porter said. "The first one was shaky, but then the second one was better."
On Dallas' final possession, Nash dribbled free of Antonio Daniels and fired up a long jumper that clanged away, sending the Mavericks to their second consecutive loss after a 10-game winning streak. A seven-game home winning streak ended, too.
Dallas also saw Michael Finley reinjure the strained left hamstring that kept him out of two of the previous three games. He limped to the locker room with 8:36 left and didn't return. He had 10 points, all in the first half.
"It looks like we lost Mike Finley for a while," coach Don Nelson said. "It's not a terribly serious thing, but he did re-aggravate it."
San Antonio won for only the third time in seven games since its 10-game winning streak ended. The Spurs made 51 percent of their shots one night after shooting a season-worst 33 percent in a loss at home to Indiana.
"Hopefully this will get us on a little streak, take us over that hump and give us some confidence," Duncan said.
This Interstate 35 matchup is rapidly developing into a nice rivalry.
In their first meeting since San Antonio won a second-round playoff series in five games, Dallas won 126-123 in overtime on a 3-pointer by Nash with 0.6 seconds left. The game featured 13 lead changes and 12 ties, with Porter forcing the extra period by hitting a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left.
"It's going to be like that over and over and over," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody has the upper hand over anybody else."
In this one, the Spurs' only deficit was 2-0. They led by as many as 17, were up 12 to start the fourth quarter and still held a 101-91 advantage with 3:18 left.
But Dallas -- which opened the fourth with a 10-0 run fueled by its defense, starting with Nowitzki swatting a layup by Porter -- rallied again by hitting its next six free throws, then wrapping two baskets from Nowitzki around a reverse layup by Eduardo Najera.
"Unfortunately, we didn't go all the way and it wasn't enough," Nowitzki said. "But we lost to a tough team."
Porter hit big shots all night, starting with a long jumper and a 3-pointer to open and close a 12-1 run that put San Antonio ahead by 11 early in the second quarter.
After Dallas got within eight late in the third, Porter answered with a running jumper over Nowitzki then a pair of free throws. He added a jumper with six seconds left in the quarter.
Porter also hit the 3-pointer that ended the Mavs' run early in the fourth quarter.
"He was on fire, making some tough shots all night," said Nash, who had 17 points and 10 assists.
Steve Smith scored 18 for San Antonio and Daniels had 13.
Tim Hardaway had 13 points and six assists for Dallas, and Najera and Wang Zhizhi each scored 10.
Notes: San Antonio's reserves outscored Dallas' 39-33, but at one point it was 24-1. ... The crowd of 20,123 was the second-largest home crowd in Mavericks' franchise history. ... Dallas lost its last two despite scoring 100-plus in each. The Mavs had been 17-0 when hitting at least 100.