Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points and the Dallas Mavericks won a playoff series for the first time since 2006, eliminating the San Antonio Spurs in five games with a 106-93 victory Tuesday night.
It is the first time San Antonio has lost in the opening round since 2000, one year after the Spurs won their first of four NBA titles. San Antonio was the third seed, but throughout the series it was Dallas that clearly looked like the higher-slotted team.
The Mavericks advance to the Western Conference semifinals to play either Denver or New Orleans. The Nuggets lead that series 3-1 and can finish off the Hornets on Wednesday at Denver.
Tim Duncan had 30 and Tony Parker had 26 but once again got little help — the story of the series for the two-dimensional Spurs.
Getting to the West semifinals is a dramatic turn for the Mavericks, who were a borderline playoff team as late as March and got a public lashing from owner Mark Cuban after a listless loss to woeful Oklahoma City.
Dallas pulled together to win seven of nine entering the playoffs, and has now won 11 of its last 14.
Portland forces Game 6
Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers staved off elimination in the playoffs with an 88-77 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Rockets, who have not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday night's game back in Houston.
Luis Scola led the Rockets with 21 points. Yao Ming had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Roy, a two-time All-Star and Portland's leading scorer, missed practice on Monday because of flu-like symptoms, while Aldridge didn't practice because of a sore right elbow. Both started Tuesday night.
Houston trailed until the fourth quarter, when Yao and Von Wafer hit consecutive jumpers to put the Rockets ahead 68-64. The Blazers tied it at 68, then Greg Oden had another two free throws to give the Blazers back the lead.
Travis Outlaw and Roy padded it with a pair of 3-pointers to make it 77-68 with 5:21 to go. After Roy added a running jumper, the Rose Garden fans were on their feet, with one fan raising a sign that read "Bring down the Rockets!"
Aaron Brooks hit a running jumper to close the Rockets to 80-75, but it was as close as Houston would come.