PHOENIX, May 24 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
, Manu Ginobili
and the San
Antonio Spurs are putting on an offensive clinic against the
defenseless Phoenix Suns.
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Duncan and Ginobili sparked another outstanding fourth quarter
as the Spurs seized control of the Western Conference finals
with a demoralizing 111-108 victory over the Suns.
Duncan overcame foul trouble to score 30 points and Ginobili
added a reckless 26 for the second-seeded Spurs, who have won
the first two games here with uncharacteristic precision on
offense, which has been the calling card of the top-seeded Suns.
For the second straight game, San Antonio erased a
fourth-quarter deficit with great shooting. In Game One, the
Spurs scored 43 points on 16-of-22 shooting in the final period.
In Game Two, they scored 31 on 12-of-17.
"(We) did have good poise and pretty good execution down the
stretch," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"The last two games, they have been phenomenal at making big
shots in the fourth quarter," Suns star Steve Nash
some point, you've just got to congratulate them and say they
are better than us."
Despite their sharp execution, the Spurs still trailed, 102-100,
with just under three minutes to go after a 3-pointer by Nash,
the NBA MVP who had 29 points and 15 assists.
With 2:33 left, San Antonio took the lead for good on a
3-pointer by Robert Horry, who has made a career of sinking
Ginobili followed with a driving layup where he put the ball
behind his back and in with reverse spin for a 105-102 lead with
1:51 remaining. After Amare Stoudemire
missed a layup,
Ginobili sank a 20-footer with 1:19 to play.
"I just saw or thought that was the best opportunity for me,"
Ginobili said of his drive. "There were very concerned with not
giving me the left hand, so I just tried to go back to my
"He has been great for us, especially against these guys (with)
his ability to start finding people and making plays," Duncan
As in Game One, the Suns kept coming but could not stop the
Spurs. Stoudemire had a layup, but so did Duncan off a feed
from Ginobili, making it 109-104 with 44 seconds left.
"We did not make a stop when we had to," Suns coach Mike
D'Antoni said. "That's to their credit. ... Ginobili and Duncan
always making the right play and decision."
A layup by Quentin Richardson
made it a one-possession game, but
the Suns - the league's most porous defensive team - were
forced to foul.
Split free throws by Horry and Ginobili around a dunk by
Stoudemire gave the Suns a last gasp, but Nash's 3-pointer off a
court-length dribble hit the front rim as time expired.
scored 24 points for the Spurs, who may be the NBA's
most versatile team. Having led the league in defense, San
Antonio is dominating this series with its highly underrated
"I think moving the ball, playing pick-and-rolls and making them
adjust or chase us is the key," Ginobili said.
"When it comes down to it, they treat every possession like it's
extremely important, and they go to their big fella, Tim
Duncan, and try to get something good," Stoudemire conceded.
Stoudemire scored 37 points and Richardson added 18 for the
Suns, who now are battling history as well as the Spurs. Just
three teams have won a best-of-seven series after losing the
first two games at home, and although it happened earlier in
this playoffs, you get the sense that San Antonio is too
composed to let it happen again.
Games Three and Four are Saturday and Monday in San Antonio,
where the Spurs are 43-4 this season.
"It's never easy playing the Spurs, but now that we're down we
have to go back to the drawing board and figure something out,"
Down by 13 points in the first quarter, the Suns took a 54-53
halftime edge as Duncan committed his third foul just before the
buzzer. He sat down with his fourth foul at the 8:14 mark of
the third quarter, fueling an 11-0 run that gave Phoenix a 75-66
lead - and prompted his return.
"We stuck him in there earlier in the third quarter than we
normally would have," Popovich said. "He was smart enough to
hang in there foul-wise."
"I was anxious to get back on the floor," Duncan said. "When I
got back out, I tried to be a little more assertive."
The Suns held an 85-80 lead entering the final period, when
Duncan scored 14 points. The Spurs finally regained the lead at
98-97 with 4:33 remaining on a jumper by Game One hero Brent
had 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals and
two blocks and Horry scored 10 points for San Antonio, which
shot 51 percent (44-of-86) from the field and committed just 12
turnovers - one in the fourth quarter.
had a quiet 11 points and 12 boards for Phoenix,
which shot 56 percent (44-of-79).