SAN ANTONIO, May 28 (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns no longer can mask their deficiencies. The San Antonio Spurs simply are a better team.

Flashing their brilliance on both offense and defense, the Spurs got big games from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and moved to the doorstep of the NBA Finals with a 102-92 victory over the Suns.

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Duncan had 33 points and 15 rebounds and Parker added 18 and seven assists for second-seeded San Antonio, which throttled top-seeded Phoenix and opened a 3-0 lead in the all-but-over Western Conference finals.

After bolting to 38 points in the first quarter, the Spurs flashed their trademark defense for the first time in the series and made it no fun for the run-and-gun Suns, who were held to their lowest half of the season and could not recover.

"The defense was a real priority for us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I think the guys responded to it very well in the second quarter, made them realize again who they are and they carried on with that fairly well in the second half."

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni conceded that the Spurs have the same look they had when they won NBA titles in 1999 and 2003.

"(It) seems like it," he said. "It's pretty good insight. I hate to be the one that's complimenting, we still got one game."

The NBA's best team in the regular season, the Suns lost two shootouts at home as their lax defense was exposed in the fourth quarter of both games. Claiming they simply needed a break or two, they got one in the form of versatile swingman Joe Johnson, who had missed the last six games with a fractured orbital bone but returned wearing a protective mask.

Johnson scored 15 points, but his presence was not enough to overcome the excellence of the Spurs, who again shut down Shawn Marion and made life difficult for NBA MVP Steve Nash.

Having sped to a 38-29 lead after one period, San Antonio limited Phoenix to 10 points on 5-of-21 shooting in the second quarter, building a 56-39 bulge.

"Pop kept saying we need to play defense, we need to make stops," Parker said. "In the first quarter, it was a high-scoring game. (In the) second quarter, we finally got some stops and finally got in transition to get some easy baskets for Timmy."

"They are a great defensive team," D'Antoni said. "(It) seemed like we just got rattled and really played in a frenzy, just really tried to drive everything, force everything, and a little bit of a mirror of the game that we played down here (earlier in) the year (a 115-94 loss)."

It was the lowest-scoring half of the season for the Suns, who fell behind by 20 points early in the fourth quarter before making a charge behind unstoppable Amare Stoudemire, who had 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Stoudemire scored 16 points in the final period, helping the Suns get as close as six points. Duncan offset him with 10 points in the last five minutes, including six from the foul line, where he was an astonishing 15-of-15.

"Tim just puts so much pressure on our defense in every situation," Nash said. "Just by being on the court, everyone is leaning towards him. The other players are terrific players too, and when you are constantly leaning towards Tim, he can destroy a team. That's why they are a team that's won two championships, and that's why we are down 3-0."

Nash scored 20 points but had just three assists while committing six turnovers as Parker used his quickness on both ends on the floor to again play his counterpart to a virtual stalemate.

"He's a real tough-minded individual," Popovich said. "He's a good competitor, he can handle critics. You tell him you got to do this or that, he doesn't take it personally. He just wants to get better."

Manu Ginobili had 18 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which outshot Phoenix, made 26-of-30 free throws and held a 49-35 advantage on the glass.

"I think as good as we are, we think we can play better," Duncan said. "I want to get it a little better. I love the effort, love what we did on the glass ... Just all around a pretty good job."

Playing at home for the first time in 11 days, the Spurs may not be going anywhere for a while. If they can complete the sweep Monday, they will await the winner of the Miami-Detroit series in the NBA Finals, which would start here.

"I think we understand what we have to do here," Duncan said. "I don't think anyone wants to go back to Phoenix."

The Suns went scoreless for the final 4:09 of the first half as the Spurs pushed the lead from eight to 17 points.

"(We) kind of put our heads down," Nash said. "We just can't do that. We have proven in stretches that we can play with these guys. For us to put our heads down just made it impossible for us to come back no matter how well we played in the second half."

One of Phoenix's problems again was the lack of production from Marion, who again was shackled by Bruce Bowen, managing just six points on 3-of-9 shooting. Averaging better than 22 points entering this series, the All-Star forward is averaging 6.7 points on 9-of-26 shooting vs. San Antonio.

A jumper and dunk by Stoudemire capped an 11-0 burst that made it 83-74 with 8:08 to go. He added a pair of inside hoops to make it 90-82 with 5:07 left, but Duncan responded with two free throws, a block and a dunk for a 94-82 lead with 3:31 to play.