PHOENIX, March 9 (Ticker) --
The Phoenix Suns needed Amaré Stoudemire
his best to hold off the San Antonio Spurs, who were without
Stoudemire scored 10 of his 44 points in the final four-plus
minutes as the Suns turned back the severely shorthanded Spurs,
107-101, and forged a tie atop the NBA.
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The victory gave the Suns (47-14) wins over every team, the
first time they have done that since the 1994-95 season. But it
was in no way a convincing triumph as the Spurs (47-14) nearly
won despite playing without injured All-Stars Tim Duncan
Duncan, a two-time MVP, was held out with a sprained ankle that
limited him to 30 minutes in Tuesday's win over New Jersey.
Ginobili, an All-Star guard who scored a career-high 48 points
in overtime win at Phoenix on Jan. 21, was sidelined with a
"The bottom line is we beat San Antonio, but I don't think it
means anything for the future," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
"We definitely didn't put any fear in Ginobili or Duncan's eyes.
We didn't play well, but that is what happens when you are
psyched up for a game and there huge stars get out, you turn it
down a notch then you try to turn it back up and you can't do
Without their two best players, the Spurs fought back from an
early 15-point deficit and threw a scare into the Suns. But they
had no answer for Stoudemire, Phoenix's All-Star center who
made 17-of-22 shots and 10-of-13 free throws.
"I came out with a lot of intensity and didn't let down until I
got into foul trouble," Stoudemire explained. "With or without
Duncan and Ginobili, I was going to bring my A game."
Stoudemire had a three-point play to give Phoenix an 89-82 lead
early in the fourth quarter but sat with his fifth foul less
than two minutes later. With him on the bench, the Spurs closed
to 93-92 midway through the period.
and Steven Hunter
had easy hoops before Stoudemire
returned with 4:49 to go. He had two free throws, a dunk and two
more free throws to keep the lead at 103-98 with 2:35 left.
and Tony Parker
missed layups for San Antonio,
and Stoudemire sealed it with consecutive hammer dunks for a
107-98 bulge in the final minute.
Marion had 18 points and 17 rebounds and Steve Nash
added 11 and
15 assists for the Suns, who had lost their last eight meetings
with the Spurs, dating to the first round of the 2003 playoffs.
"We pulled out a good win against a good team but we wanted
their big guns out there," admitted Marion. "It takes a little
momentum out of you when they are not playing, but we made some
good stops held them down when we needed to and got the win."
Parker scored a season-high 30 points, none in the fourth
"I ran out of gas in the fourth quarter," Parker admitted. "A
lot of guys stepped up tonight and just because Tim and Manu
don't play, that doesn't mean we can't compete. I'm not even
surprised that it was close."
added 13 for the Spurs, who had won their last 41
games when scoring 100 points, including their first 24 this
The Suns have won four in a row and ended a five-game run by the
With Duncan out of the lineup, Stoudemire had his way early. He
scored 13 points in the first quarter as Phoenix built a 36-24
lead despite losing Shootout champion Quentin Richardson
mild concussion midway through the period.
A 3-pointer by Nash made it 43-28 with 7:13 left in the second
quarter. The Spurs rallied within 48-42 behind their guards
before consecutive dunks by Marion helped rebuild the lead to
54-44 at halftime.
A three-point play by Bruce Bowen
pulled San Antonio into a
66-66 tie before Phoenix responded with four straight baskets,
including two by Stoudemire. The Suns took an 83-80 lead into
the final period.
"Yes, we lost but it was good for us because it showed us we can
trust the system to keep us in games," Spurs swingman Brent Barry
said. "If we defend properly and make an effort to do the
things we are suppose to do on the court we can play with
anybody regardless who is playing with us."