Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and the San Antonio Spurs are back in the Western Conference finals for the second straight season with the same style that has carried them to four NBA titles.
Don’t call these guys old just yet.
After wearing down the younger Golden State Warriors in a grueling six-game series, the Spurs look as spry as ever. And they already know what to expect when they open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday.
‘‘It’s going to be a rough one,’’ Duncan said. ‘‘If you thought this was physical, it’s going to turn up about 10 notches.’’
San Antonio has shown it can still grind out a series.
Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to eliminate the Warriors with a 94-82 victory Thursday night in Oakland, Calif.
Parker shook off a poor start, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which watched a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes. But the Spurs stayed steady, just the way they have for nearly two decades, and avoided the perils of a decisive Game 7 against Golden State.
‘‘They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes injured his head in the second quarter, returned in the third, and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent to put themselves in position to make another championship run.
The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games. Memphis and San Antonio split the season series 2-2.
‘‘It’s not going to be pretty, sorry. It’s just not going to be,’’ Duncan said.
The Spurs lost to the Thunder in the conference finals in six games last season after going ahead 2-0 at home. They haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 2007, when they won their fourth title with a sweep of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
‘‘I think everybody on the team, we all want to go one more time,’’ Parker said. ‘‘It’s been a long time.’’
Klay Thompson, who had 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that sliced San Antonio’s lead to 3. Then Curry’s pull-up jumper brought the Warriors within 77-75 with 4:52 to play.
Parker was 1 for 13 before hitting a corner 3-pointer and Leonard followed with two free throws to put the Spurs up seven.
The Warriors had only made the playoffs once since 1994 before this season and hadn’t won two games beyond the first round since 1977.
‘‘It’s inspiring to think of what we were able to accomplish this year and the foundation that has been laid,’’ Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Kings stay put
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced to screaming throngs of Kings fans Friday that the deal to sell the NBA franchise to a group led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive has been signed.
‘‘This was one heck of a comeback,’’ Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, said on a stage shared with two dozen investors, fans, and politicians who had worked to keep the franchise in the city.
Earlier this week, NBA owners rejected a bid to move the franchise to Seattle. Investor Chris Hansen, whose agreement to buy the team from the Maloof family and move them to the Pacific Northwest shocked the city in January, fought to acquire the team to the bitter end. He even negotiated to buy a minority share when it became clear the league opposed relocation.
Johnson said that the deal reached between the Maloofs and the Ranadive group did not include an investment from Hansen.
A person familiar with the deal previously told the Associated Press that the Maloofs had reached an agreement to sell a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $535 million.
The NBA is expected to officially approve the sale next week.
Hill’s status unknown
Pacers guard George Hill will have another concussion test before Saturday’s home playoff game.
Hill missed Thursday night’s 85-75 Game 5 loss to the Knicks after complaining of headaches. He was diagnosed with a concussion. NBA policy requires players to pass a concussion test before returning to action.
Hill did not practice Friday, and coach Frank Vogel said he had not spoken with him.
Vogel said Hill was expected to meet with doctors later Friday.