7:00 P.M.: Spurs Hope To Elbow Their Way To 3-1 Series Lead Over Mavericks

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Preview courtesy of Sports Network.

San Antonio hopes to hold serve tonight and take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their Western Conference quarterfinals set against in-state rival Dallas tonight.

Manu Ginobili suffered a broken nose on Friday, but scored 11 of his 15 points in the last quarter, and the Spurs beat Dallas, 94-90, in a rough battle to take a 2-1 edge in the series.

Tim Duncan poured in 25 points and Tony Parker added 23 for San Antonio, which also received 17 points from George Hill.

Ginobili, who was hurt in the third quarter after being elbowed by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, returned and played with a bandage over his nose. He sank 7- of-8 foul shots and also had seven assists as the Spurs won despite missing all seven of their three-point shots.

"He's a great player and has been a great player for a very long time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "If Dirk had gotten hurt or Jason Kidd, people like that who are the ultimate competitors, they play unless they just can't do it. Manu is one of those."

The Texas tussle turned into a physical pounding between the teams, but the seventh-seeded Spurs won the battle to take the series lead.

"He took the game over for a stretch there," Duncan said of Ginobili. "They made a run, they made some shots. They played zone for a little while and got us out of our stuff. We gave Manu the ball and he took it upon himself to kind of take over the game."

Nowitzki scored 35, but the Mavericks couldn't contain Parker and Ginobili in the final quarter. The duo combined for 20 points in the final 12 minutes.

"We were able to speed the game up and got some good looks in transition," Nowitzki said. "In a half-court set they really seem to take our options away."

Mavericks forward Caron Butler had just two points in the first half, and wasn't inserted in the game over the final two quarters.

"We were just going with the group that was going good, we needed penetration," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

Ginobili, who is averaging 21.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the series, was cleared to play in Game 4 after a CT scan on Saturday revealed no surgery was needed.

"I had no doubts he'd be back. He's got a very strong nose on him," Duncan said. "I think it'd take him a second and he'd be right back."

These two rivals have met in the playoffs four times previously, including last season. The Spurs won sets in 2001 and 2003 before the Mavericks bounced back to win a pair of series in 2006 and 2009. Last season, the Mavs took down San Antonio in the quarterfinals in just five games.

The best-of-seven set continues back in Dallas next Tuesday for Game 5.

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