SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 28 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash
and the Phoenix Suns found
it a lot more difficult to run against Tony Parker
and the San
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Parker scored a season-high 29 points in 30 minutes and
thoroughly outplayed Nash as the Spurs snapped the Suns' 11-game
winning streak with an emphatic 115-94 victory.
"I knew I had to have a lot of energy and go back at him because
if you don't go back at Steve Nash
, he is going to beat you
every time," Parker said. "I thought in the second half, he was
a little bit tired. It was a big challenge for me. Steve Nash
is the best point guard in the league and is playing great.
That's why you play in the NBA against the best, I love it."
Phoenix, which entered the contest with a league-best 24-3 mark
and 20 wins in its last 21 games, took a 35-32 lead after one
quarter behind 12 points from Nash. But the Suns fell behind by
halftime, 61-54, and were outscored, 32-15, in the third
quarter, with Nash failing to score in either period.
"They scored 35 in the first quarter and that's uncharacteristic
for us and characteristic for them," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich
said. "After that, we talked about what our goals were
and I thought Tony and Timmy (Duncan
) set a good tone
aggressiveness-wise, physical play and really going at it
offensively and picking it up on the defensive end from that
Meanwhile, Parker scored 13 points in the second quarter and 10
in the third before sitting out nearly all of the fourth with
the win in hand. Parker connected on 14-of-20 shots for the
Spurs, who made 52 percent (47-of-91) overall.
"They just kicked our butts," Nash said. "We had a good first
quarter and they came storming back. We didn't show a lot of
poise or focus tonight. But maybe that's good for this team, to
face a tough challenge like this and learn from it.
"We got embarrassed, but we can use that positively. We can
make this a turning point in our season. We can learn that we
are not a finished product and there are a lot of things to work
on and good things we can build on."
Duncan collected 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for San
Antonio, which improved to 14-1 at home.
"It was a huge game for us," Duncan said. "We shot the ball a
lot better than they did. You don't want to say it's a
statement game, but we are excited about the win."
eclipsed the 30-point mark for the fourth
straight game with 37 for the Suns, who shot just under 40
percent (31-of-78). Shawn Marion
was limited to six points and
"We just need to play some better defense, that's all,"
Stoudemire said. "We struggled defensively. This team, we can
score all night long, but we have to man up on defense. This
might be good for us. It's never fun to lose, but you have to
look back at games like this and correct the mistakes you made
Phoenix, which entered the contest averaging a league-high 109.3
points, had not lost by more than five this season. Nash, who
had recorded at least 10 assists in each game during the Suns'
winning streak and was averaging a league-best 11.2 this season,
managed just four in this one.
"We just ran into a great team tonight," Phoenix coach Mike
D'Antoni said. "We didn't do a good job containing Tony Parker
on the pick-and-roll. They are a championship team that did
what they needed to do tonight.
"We were up eight or nine at one point and then they really
buckled down on defense. We let them in the paint too much and
we were not clicking on offense. When you don't click against a
team of this caliber, you're in trouble."