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San Antonio 99, Phoenix 86
Parker Propels Spurs to 2-1 Series Lead

Amare Stoudemire is expecting to be double-teamed "from the first game out."
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX, April 15 (Ticker) -- Tony Parker does not look intimidated by Stephon Marbury anymore.

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Dominated by Marbury in the first two games of their Western Conference first-round series, Parker scored 29 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 99-86 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Stephen Jackson added 20 points and Malik Rose had 15 for the Spurs, who regained home-court advantage and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Suns frequently double-teamed Spurs forward Tim Duncan and limited him to 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting. But the MVP candidate pulled down 23 rebounds on his 26th birthday to help San Antonio control the glass, 51-35.

"Their focus is to take me out of the game, fine," said Duncan, who also had six assists and three blocks. "If that's what they want to do, we have to counter some way. We're getting layups and wide-open shots. So if we knock those things down, we kill them on the double-team."

"They don't want to let him take shots, and luckily he's a very mature, wonderful player," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He knows what it takes to win, so he's happy to get assists, get blocks and get rebounds."

Parker, who totaled nine points in the first two games, scored 13 in the first quarter as San Antonio opened a 25-18 lead.

"I tried to fight through it," said Parker, who shot 12-of-21. "When the first couple of shots went in, I was feeling good."

"Tony Parker's our starting point guard," Popovich said. "Someone has a bad game or two, you don't just shop them off to Siberia. You stick with them, continue to puff them up, show confidence in them."

Jackson put the Spurs ahead for good, 10-8, with a jumper with 7:23 left in the period.

The Spurs extended the lead to 53-36 at halftime and took a 69-56 advantage into the fourth quarter. They were in front by as many as 21 points early in the final period before Phoenix pulled within 10 in the last two minutes.

"Offensively, (we were) impatient," Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "I think it was 36-20, we're down by double digits and we got it down to 10. Why, because we moved the ball. Then it was one pass, shot, one pass, shot. We can't do it."

Dating to the regular season, the Spurs have won 19 of their last 21 road games.

Marbury scored 25 points, Shawn Marion chipped in 18 and Rookie of the Year Amare Stoudemire 17 for the Suns, but the rest of the team combined for just 26. Phoenix's bench was outscored by San Antonio's reserves, 29-13.

"It's very frustrating, very frustrating to lose the game, period, let alone lose the home-court advantage, but we've been in this situation, so we've just got to go back to the drawing board," Marbury said.

The Spurs shot 46 percent (36-of-79) and held the Suns to 38 percent (33-of-87).

"It was a tough game for us," Stoudemire said. "We take so much pride in double-teaming Tim Duncan and the perimeter guys were doing a great job in knocking down jumpers."

Game 4 is Sunday at Phoenix.

"Am I concerned? Yes, I'm concerned," Johnson said. "But we've been in a position before where we had tough losses and I expect us to bounce back Sunday. We've got a group of guys who have not stopped playing all year."

"We weren't looking forward to Tony Parker scoring 30 points," Stoudemire added. "That was kind of an eye-opener for us, so we'll be ready Sunday."

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