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San Antonio 84, Phoenix 76
Spurs Even Series Behind Jackson, Duncan

Speedy Claxton scored 10 and dished seven assists on Monday.
Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE/Getty Images

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SAN ANTONIO, April 21 (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs played with the desperation of a team that was facing an unthinkable deficit.

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Stephen Jackson scored 23 points and Tim Duncan had nine of his nine of his 22 points in the final 7½ minutes as the Spurs rallied for an 84-76 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series.

San Antonio, which had the league's best record during the regular season, lost Game 1 on Friday and was trying to avoid going to Phoenix in an 0-2 hole.

"It could have been a lot of trouble," Duncan said. "But we played with a lot of energy and hit shots when they counted. We need to carry the momentum from this into (Game 3)."

"We could not go to Phoenix down 0-2," Jackson said. "We brought a lot of energy into tonight's game. Even when we were down, we were confident that we could make a run and head to Phoenix with the split."

The Suns controlled the tempo in the second half led by Stephon Marbury, who had 32 points, and led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter.

But the Spurs finished the game on a 19-4 run highlighted by huge baskets from Jackson and rookie Emanuel Ginobili.

The Spurs were sparked by an unusual four-point play with 7:17 left. Danny Ferry made a three-pointer from the right wing and Duncan was fouled under the basket. He made the ensuing free throw to bring San Antonio within 72-69.

Duncan made consecutive baskets to give San Antonio the lead for good at 73-72 with 5:31 remaining. Jackson followed with a jumper, but Suns rookie Amare Stoudemire answered with a layup -- his first basket of the game.

Duncan and Stoudemire traded baskets before Ginobili buried a three-pointer from the right corner with 63 seconds left for an 80-76 lead.

Marbury missed a runner at the other end and Duncan made two free throws with 33 seconds left. Jackson added a pair from the line 11 seconds later for the Spurs, who made seven of their last 11 shots after opening the fourth quarter 0-for-8.

"They hit some shots and caused us to miss some shots," Marbury said. "They gave such a great effort down the stretch and really made big plays. You have to give credit to all of them."

San Antonio evened the series despite shooting just 36 percent (30-of-82) and playing most of the second half without starting points guard Tony Parker, who was torched by Marbury for the second straight game and had just two points and four fouls in 18 minutes.

"Tony's fine," Duncan said. "It's no secret he's having a tough series right now, but he's young and he's tough and he will fight through this. Tony will stick with it and we'll stick with him."

Speedy Claxton filled in for Parker and had 10 points and seven assists. Malik Rose had 11 points off the bench and Ferry, who started in place of injured center David Robinson, grabbed a career playoff-high 10 rebounds.

Robinson missed the game with a knee injury.

"Speedy was big for us tonight, along with Ginobili and Ferry," Duncan said. "Danny rebounded, layed bodies and himself out on the floor tonight. Speedy was great keeping in front of Marbury, especially down the stretch."

Penny Hardaway had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which shot just 37 percent (31-of-84) from the floor, including 1-of-17 from three-point range.

"Obviously we're disappointed with the loss," Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "It comes down to missed shots. We still had chances. We became hesitant for whatever reason."

Shawn Marion was held to just six points on 3-of-14 shooting but had 12 rebounds. Stoudemire made just 2-of-6 shots and finished with four points.

Phoenix will host Game 3 at America West Arena on Friday.

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