Notebook: Suns 105, Spurs 101 OT



Posted Feb 28, 2013 12:45 AM

By Tim Price, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Wesley Johnson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end regulation, and the Suns held San Antonio to 0-for-10 shooting from the floor in overtime to defeat the Spurs 105-101 in a shocker on Wednesday at AT&T Center.

It was the second overtime in as many nights for the Suns (20-39), who lost an 18-point lead at home to Minnesota on Tuesday night but still pulled out the win. This time, Phoenix rallied from 11 points down in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

The Spurs (45-14) actually made their final three shots from the floor in regulation, but they left the door open when Manu Ginobili missed the second of two free throws with 3.7 seconds to go. Jermaine O'Neal grabbed the rebound -- one of 13 for him on the night to go along with 22 points in 27 minutes off the bench -- and hurled a pass to Johnson with his right toe just behind the 3-point line. He got the shot off over Tim Duncan.

Tony Parker scored 22 for San Antonio, but he missed three shots from the floor during overtime -- so did Ginobili -- and managed to hit one of two foul shots in OT for the Spurs only point. The Spurs had an 18-game home court winning streak snapped.

QUOTABLE: "Tonight was a great team effort against the best team in the NBA on their court. For us, we're obviously not in the playoff run, but it's about trying to be a better team. Games like these are what build character and put us in the right direction."

-- Jermaine O'Neal

THE STAT: O'Neal's inside presence totally tipped the scales. He played the entire fourth quarter and Phoenix outscored San Antonio 18-4 in the paint in that quarter. The Suns had twice as many scoring opportunities inside during the fourth.

TURNING POINT: Lost in the fact that San Antonio missed all 10 shots from the floor in OT, the Suns made their final five shots in regulation to send it to bonus time after the Spurs led 93-86 with three minutes to go.

QUOTABLE II: "I think we were kind of surprised that Manu missed that last free throw [he's an 81-percent free-throw shooter this season]. But they made a great play [and] Wesley [Johnson] made a big 3."

-- Tony Parker on the final play in regulation when Johnson got open for the three to send it to OT

HOT: Luis Scola went 7-for-10 tonight in his best effort since Feb. 19 when he shot 8-for-11 at Portland. But his work tonight came in three quarters -- Suns coach Lindsey Hunter sat down Scola the rest of the way in favor of O'Neal. It worked. O'Neal went 6-for-9 in the fourth quarter and OT.

NOT: Because he missed that last free throw with 3.7 seconds left in regulation, Ginobili missed his last four shots overall. His three misses in overtime all were 3-pointers.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: O'Neal (22 points, 13 rebounds) had his second double-double in as many nights and his third in the past five games.

GOOD MOVE: Hunter's decision to play O'Neal over the streaking Scola (alongside Marcin Gortat, it helped Phoenix better match San Antonio's bigs of Duncan and Tiago Splitter) was obviously a move that paid off. But so was his decision to keep Goran Dragic in the game when he picked up his fifth foul with almost 7 ½ minutes left. If Dragic fouled out Kendall Marshall, a rookie, is the backup at point. Hunter switched Dragic over to guard the Spurs shooting guards (Ginobili or Danny Green) and put P.J. Tucker or Johnson on Parker. Bigger defenders -- as Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefakosha showed in the Western Conference Finals last season -- can be effective against Parker. And with Tucker and Johnson defending, Parker went 2-for-8 the rest of the way.

BAD MOVE: The Spurs had two players in the general area of Johnson on the 3-point shot at the regulation buzzer, but they were unable to rush him and greatly alter the shot. "He wasn't picked up," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That cost us the game."

ROOKIE WATCH: Marshall played 12 ½ minutes at point in relief of Dragic and came away with four assists to one turnover. But he sat the bench when Dragic picked up his fifth foul not even midway in the fourth quarter.

NOTABLE: Gary Neal was inactive for the second-straight game because of left calf tightness. He's expected to miss at least one more game for San Antonio. ... The Spurs lost more outside shooting when Stephen Jackson went out of the first half with a right ankle sprain. ... The Spurs were a league-best 22-2 at home coming in to this game, and the 18-game winning straight was third-best in franchise history.

UP NEXT: For the Suns, Friday vs. Atlanta, Wednesday vs. Toronto, Friday @ Sacramento. For the Spurs, Friday vs. Sacramento, Sunday vs. Detroit, Wednesday vs. Chicago.