PHOENIX, Jan. 21 (Ticker) --
Even with the return of Steve Nash, Manu
Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs showed which team was the
best in the NBA.
Ginobili scored 18 of his career-high 48 points in the fourth
quarter and added another six in the extra session as the Spurs
posted a 128-123 overtime victory over Nash and the slumping
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After starting the season 31-4, the Suns have lost six
consecutive games, yielding the best record to the Spurs (33-9),
who used a funky four-guard lineup to storm back from a
17-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Playing his first game in a week, Nash returned to direct
Phoenix's high-powered offense with 16 points and 13 assists in
Trailing 88-71 after three quarters, the Spurs went to four
guards and superstar Tim Duncan to combat the quickness of the
Suns. Ginobili connected on two 3-pointers as San Antonio
opened the fourth period on a 15-5 run to get back in it.
Brent Barry, who scored 16 points, completed the comeback with
two 3-pointers in the final minute, and two free throws by
Duncan gave the Spurs a 113-110 lead with 7.3 seconds remaining.
Shawn Marion, who scored 17 of his season-high 37 points in the
third quarter, responded with a leaning 3-pointer as time
expired to send the game into overtime and the America West
Arena crowd into a frenzy.
Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire, who scored 35 points, opened the
extra session with a dunk, but Barry gave the Spurs the lead for
good with another shot from the arc and Ginobili added a
thunderous driving dunk over Stoudemire and Marion for a 123-115
lead with 1:55 to go.
Duncan helped seal the win with six of his 30 points in
overtime. He also grabbed 18 rebounds for the Spurs, who have
won three in a row.
Ginobili made 16-of-22 shots, including 5-of-7 3-pointers, and
11-of-12 free throws. He shattered his previous career high of
33 against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 6, 2003.
Joe Johnson scored 21 points and Quentin Richardson added 11 for
the Suns, who got all but three points from their starters.
They took a step to address their thin bench by acquiring
veteran swingman Jim Jackson from New Orleans earlier Friday.
Marion scored 14 straight Phoenix points as the Suns closed the
third quarter with a 23-6 burst to open their largest lead.