May 27, 1995 in Sports

Spurs Come Back To Life With Victory At Houston

Associated Press
 

Forget that Rocket rout. Put away the broom. The San Antonio Spurs aren’t Lone Star losers after all.

The Spurs, their season in its death throes after two home losses to Houston, climbed back into the Western Conference finals Friday night with a 107-102 road victory, snapping Houston’s five-game playoff winning streak.

The Rockets still lead the best-ofseven series 2-1 with Game 4 Sunday in Houston.

“Hopefully this is the kick-start to the Spurs,” said San Antonio’s David Robinson, “and now we can get back to playing the way we know we’re capable of playing.”

Hakeem Olajuwon scored 43 points and blocked five shots on the heels of his 41-point performance in Wednesday’s 106-96 victory. This time, his supporting cast, so reliable in the first two games, failed as San Antonio rallied from 11 points down early in the third quarter, then broke away from an 89-89 tie over the final 6 minutes.

For the first time in the series, the Spurs looked like the team that had the league’s best record at 62-20.

Avery Johnson, who had 20 points and 13 assists, made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 45 seconds to clinch the victory and assure a Game 5 Tuesday night in San Antonio. The Spurs’ point guard, playing despite a sore right ankle, had no turnovers.

“Our defensive intensity was through the sky,” said Robinson, the league’s MVP. “The last couple of games we were disjointed.”

Robinson scored six of his 29 points during an 11-2 outburst that put the Spurs ahead 100-91 with 2:05 to play. But, as usual, the defending champs didn’t die easily.

Robert Horry made his fourth 3-pointer with 1:48 to play to make it 101-94, then after San Antonio’s Dennis Rodman made 1 of 2 free throws, Kenny Smith made his fourth 3 of the game to cut the lead to 101-97 with 1:27 to go.

Olajuwon, proving he is mortal, missed a 14-footer and Johnson made two free throws with 45 seconds to play.

Olajuwon’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds left sliced the lead to 103-100. But Johnson made two free throws with 26 seconds to go, then made 1 of 2 with 16 seconds remaining to make it 106-100.

“We were overdue for a performance and we finally got one,” San Antonio coach Bob Hill said.

Vinny Del Negro, who scored just 12 points in the two previous games, tied his career playoff high with 19 for the Spurs, while Sean Elliott scored 21.

“We’re just trying to be aggressive,” Del Negro said. “We got some easy baskets. We got more of our style of play. We hadn’t been doing that. We got the ball out quick and we attacked the basket.”

Clyde Drexler scored 21 for Houston, only four in the second half. Horry added 18.

The Spurs outscored the Rockets by 15 points at the foul line, where they were 26 for 32, compared with 11 for 13 for Houston. The Rockets were called for 26 fouls, San Antonio for 15.

“Thirty-two free throws to 13 is a monster of a killer,” Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.

Spurs 107, Rockets 102

SAN ANTONIO (107)

Elliott 7-13 4-5 21, Rodman 0-3 1-2 1, Robinson 10-15 9-9 29, Del Negro 7-14 2-2 19, Johnson 6-14 8-12 20, Anderson 1-2 0-0 2, Person 3-7 0-0 9, Rivers 1-3 0-0 2, Cummings 0-2 0-0 0, Reid 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 36-75 26-32 107.

HOUSTON (102)

Horry 5-11 3-5 17, Chilcutt 0-0 0-0 0, Olajuwon 19-32 4-4 43, Drexler 8-18 2-2 21, Smith 4-8 1-1 13, Elie 2-5 0-0 5, Cassell 0-4 1-1 1, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 1-2 0-0 2.Totals 39-80 11-13 102.

San Antonio 31 21 27 28 - 107

Houston 37 24 19 22 - 102

3-Point goals-San Antonio 9-19 (Elliott 3-5, Person 3-6, Del Negro 3-7, Cummings 0-1), Houston 13-29 (Smith 4-5, Horry 4-9, Drexler 3-10, Olajuwon 1-1, Elie 1-2, Cassell 0-2). Fouled out-Horry. Rebounds-San Antonio 51 (Rodman 14), Houston 37 (Olajuwon 11). Assists-San Antonio 26 (Johnson 13), Houston 25 (Drexler 6). Total fouls-San Antonio 15, Houston 26. Technicals-Rodman, San Antonio illegal defense, Houston coach Tomjanovich. A-16,611 (16,611).

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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