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Final Score: Spurs move on to conference semis, beat Mavs 119-96

The Spurs faced elimination and responded with their best performance in over a month. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan -- they all played well, with intensity and excellence to lead the Spurs to the series win.

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The Spurs came out with intensity and focus from the beginning, opening up an 18-7 lead halfway through the first. The Spurs put on a clinic for most of the rest of the first half and took a 68-46 lead into the break.

The Mavericks gave the Spurs their best punch to begin the second half, cutting a once 29-point lead to 14, but the good guys responded well and beat the Mavs in the quarter 26-22. The Spurs closed it out in the fourth and beat Dallas in a series that was way more interesting than anyone thought it would be.

Your Spurs improve to 4-3 in the postseason.

Popovich Post Game

About the impressiveness of the win

We played very very well. It was one of our best games of the year, and it showed.

On the greatest challenge in the series

Every opponent is totally different. I don't compare that at all. The Mavs are playing their best ball at the end of the year. They have a lot of guys who can shoot it. Carlisle is one of the most clever guys around. Trying to follow all of his stuff is really difficult. So that was the toughest part for us, in addition to them playing so well. They had guys step up off the bench that played well.

On what "confounded" him

They've got shooters all the way around. Dirk Nowitzki gets a crowd. If you double him you open up a lot of different shooters, so we played him one on one so that we could stay at home a little bit better. That ability to shoot it and spread the floor, run the sets that Rick does, and the speed of Harris and Ellis were tough for us to handle. Jose Calderon is a fine, solid point guard, shooter, passer - he does everything well so it was tough.

Did you get your best defensive effort?

It wasn't close. This was our most aggressive evening. We were more physical tonight than we've been the whole series.

On Portland

It's obviously one heck of a team. We've had trouble with them all year long. They've got guys on that team that we haven't guarded yet. They're very talented, they're young and energetic. Terry does a great job and they know what they want to do. They're playing great ball, so it will be a tough.

Is there a benefit to being battle tested for two straight weeks?

Sure, it's logical to say that. If it was rest you say that's great, and since you don't get the rest we say we're ready to go. You slice it any way you want. It's all psycho-babble really

On the bench

Everybody's bench is important. We want them to play well. Five guys can't win, you have to have guys off the bench that contribute. I thought they did a good job of that tonight.