SAN ANTONIO - Midway through the first quarter after missing two jumpers, Tim Duncan threw the ball up yet again, then held his arms wide.
This time, would the shot fall?
It did. And much later the Spurs' big man hit an even bigger one. Duncan's first 3 of the season with just ticks left sent his team into double overtime against the revenge-minded Phoenix Suns.
Then it was Manu Ginobili's turn, and his layup with 1.8 seconds left pushed the defending champions past the Suns 117-115 yesterday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Now the teams have two days to rest from their marathon best-of-seven Western Conference opener before meeting for Game 2 on Tuesday night.
"I got a wide-open shot. Wound it up. Threw it up there and hoped for the best," said a clearly tired Duncan, who had 40 points and 15 rebounds.
This year's rematch of what many dubbed last year's real finals - a tense and testy second-round series between the teams that the Spurs won in six games on their way to the title - got off to a wild start and more than met expectations.
"It feels like a finals game," Duncan said. "It's the first game of the first series, and we're going to have to muster energy back up."
Hornets 104, Mavericks 92
NEW ORLEANS - Chris Paul had 35 points and 10 assists in his first career playoff game, lifting the Hornets to a come-from-behind victory over Dallas in Game 1 of their first-round series.
David West scored 23 points and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 15 rebounds to help New Orleans storm back from a 12-point halftime deficit and win going away.
Dirk Nowitzki had his way with New Orleans early and finished with 31 points, but scored only four during Dallas' fourth-quarter collapse. Josh Howard added 17 points for the Mavericks.