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In the meantime, the Mavs will have a long time to sulk over this one.
Plagued by slow starts in this series, Dallas got off to its worst yet when it mattered most. The Mavs trailed 22-8 after the first quarter, hitting just four of their first 18 shots. By halftime it was 47-34, a franchise playoff low for Dallas.
But the Mavs clawed back.
Nowitzki, who had four fouls in the first half, shrugged off the foul trouble and put Dallas ahead 57-56 with a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. Cuban jumped out of his chair behind the Mavs bench, while the Spurs watched their big lead evaporate in disbelief.
But Hill, the hero of Game 4 for the Spurs, came through again to finish off Dallas. He scored 10 points in the fourth, none bigger than a corner 3-pointer with 3:19 left that put the Spurs up 89-81 and deflated Dallas.
The Spurs wanted to play the Mavericks so badly that they basically forced the matchup. By benching Duncan and Ginobili in the season finale against Dallas, they made it easier for the Mavs to win and seal them as the second and seventh seeds.
It looked like a case of being careful what you wish for when Dallas won the opener by 12 points. But San Antonio evened the series with a road win in Game 2, then swept two home games.
When the arena cleared out after winning a third home game, Spurs owner Peter Holt -- who's much quieter than his Dallas counterpart -- had his own words while walking across the court.
"Go Spurs Go!" he roared.
NOTES: Spurs rookie F DeJuan Blair ran his car off the interstate on the way to the game when he hit a guard rail, swerving into a ditch and deploying the air bag. He wasn't injured, and a Spurs staffer picked him up and took him to the arena. "It's questionable for the next game," Blair joked about his car. ... The dismal first quarter for the Mavs was just one point better than their franchise playoff low.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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