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Spurs give Mavericks early KO

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and San Antonio survived blowing a 22-point lead in 97-87 victory in Game 6 on Thursday night, handing Dirk Nowitzki and second-seeded Dallas another first-round exit.

The Spurs got payback after the Mavs eliminated them a year ago, and will play Phoenix in the Western Conference semifinals.

Nowitzki nearly carried the Mavs to an unbelievable comeback, getting 25 of his 33 points in a remarkable second half. But the Mavs still stumbled to their third first-round exit in the last four years.

George Hill had 21 points for the Spurs, who are the fifth No. 7 seed to win a first-round series, and the first since the opening round became a best-of-7 in 2003. It hadn’t been done since New York beat Miami in 1998.

Caron Butler scored 25 points and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois had 16 for Dallas.

Suns 99,

Trail Blazers 90

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jason Richardson scored 28 points, including five 3-pointers, and Phoenix advanced to the second round.

The third-seeded Suns will face seventh-seeded San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals. Game 1 is Monday night in Phoenix.

The Suns last went to the second round in 2007, when they got past the Los Angeles Lakers to open the playoffs before falling to the Spurs. In 2008, the Spurs got the best of Phoenix in the first round.

Grant Hill of the Suns advanced past the first round for the first time in his career.

The Suns went up 53-41 at halftime and led by as many as 16 points in the second half. The Blazers tied it at 76 midway through the fourth quarter, but could not pull ahead.

Martell Webster had 19 points for Portland, which failed to advance out of the first round for the second straight year.