DALLAS, May 29 (UPI) -- Steve Kerr made three three-pointers during an amazing fourth quarter Thursday night and the San Antonio Spurs scored 23 straight points to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, 90-78, and advance to the NBA Finals.
San Antonio, which won the 1999 title, hosts the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the SBC Center on Wednesday night. It will be the first NBA Finals matchup between two former ABA teams.
With Tim Duncan struggling and Tony Parker playing with a stomach flu, the Spurs looked flat and trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. Dallas still owned a 71-58 lead after a jumper by Nick Van Exel of Dallas with 10:53 to play.
But after Duncan made one of two free throws 13 seconds later, the Spurs' wing players got hot from the outside. Manu Ginobili made a three-pointer and Stephen Jackson back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to pull San Antonio within 71-68 with 8:53 left.
Kerr, 37, then tied the contest with a three-pointer with 7:12 left, added another to put San Antonio ahead for good at 74-71 with 6:28 left, and connected on a third shot from long range with 5:14 to play to make it 79-71. Ginobili capped the incredible 23-0 burst with a pair of free throws with 3 1/2 minutes to go to give San Antonio an 81-71 advantage.
The Spurs outscored the Mavericks by 34-9 in the final 12 minutes with Dallas scoring the final four points of the game in the final minute with the result not in doubt.
Jackson scored a playoff career-high 24 points, Duncan contributed 18 with 11 rebounds and Malik Rose 12 and 11 for the Spurs, who won each of their three games in Dallas in the six-game series.
Van Exel scored 19 points and Walt Williams 17 for Dallas, which played its third straight game without injured All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki.