SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Tim Duncan understands many people, maybe even a few Spurs fans, wanted to see a Game 7 between San Antonio and Phoenix.

The Suns, of course, wanted that, too, despite the bumps and bruises they sustained during the series.

But the Spurs were dead set against it. And on Friday night, they got their way.

"You have to understand we didn't want to see it go one more," Duncan said after the Spurs' 114-106 victory sent them to the Western Conference final against Utah. "Those guys are capable any night of putting a run together, exploding and running away with it."

The Suns did put a run together Friday in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. With Steve Nash leading the way, the Suns cut a 20-point Spurs lead to five with less than a minute to go.

"They fought back in the fourth quarter, never gave up," Duncan said. "Time just ran out on them."

The Spurs closed out Phoenix by four games to two and will now meet the Jazz beginning today in San Antonio.

Raptors report. NBA coach of the year Sam Mitchell agreed to a new contract with the Toronto Raptors, the Canadian Press reported.

The 43-year-old Mitchell was selected the NBA coach of the year last month after leading the Raptors to a 47-35 record. He was 60-104 in his first two seasons with the Raptors. His contract was set to expire June 30.

Referee watch. NBA union chief Billy Hunter said that the players would support the reinstatement of referee Joey Crawford, who was suspended after he was accused of trying to pick a fight with Tim Duncan during a game.

"We hated to see Joey get canned," Hunter told a sports lawyers' convention yesterday. "I think in all probability Joey will be back. We've expressed our willingness to work with him."

Crawford ejected Duncan from a game last month after calling a second technical foul on the Spurs star while he was laughing on the bench. Duncan said Crawford looked at him and said, "Do you want to fight?"

Grizzlies rumblings. Phoenix Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni said that he has had an informal meeting with Memphis owner Michael Heisley about the Grizzlies' vacant head coaching position.