|Spurs' 4-game winning streak ended|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 26 May 2007 17:35|
The Spurs' march to the NBA finals hit its snag in nearly two weeks Saturday night when the Utah Jazz won Game 3 of the Western Conference finals 109-83.
Utah pulled within 2-1 in the series and remained unbeaten at home in the playoffs with a performance that was much improved over games 1 and 2 in San Antonio. The Spurs fell behind for the first time in the second half and their playoff-savvy wasn't enough to overcome a Jazz team feeding off the home energy during a huge third quarter.
Utah outscored San Antonio 32-20 in the third and forced Tim Duncan to the bench with foul trouble. The Spurs' ``Big 3'' was down to two and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili couldn't hold off the Jazz by themselves.
Duncan finished with 16 points and eight rebounds - ending his string of 11 straight with 20 points and 10 boards. Parker had 25 points and seven assists and Ginobili scored four before coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters after the Spurs too far behind to make a run.
San Antonio hasn't swept a series since the opening round of the 2004 playoffs. The Spurs still lead the Jazz by a game and if they win Monday night in Utah will be just one victory away from advancing to the finals.
Popovich said before the game that despite San Antonio's well-documented composure while opening the playoffs 10-3, the Spurs were human and could actually unravel like any other team. His pregame comments were right on target a couple hours later.
After Duncan was called for an offensive foul with 5:44 left in the period, the Jazz took advantage with a 9-3 run to pull ahead 71-63 on a layup by Gordan Giricek, who led the Jazz reserves with 11 points.