San Antonio 102, Phoenix 96 (F)
Tony Parker scored 32 points to lead the Spurs to a 102-96 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday night after the Suns gave away another double-digit, first-half lead.
The Spurs needed a few amazing shots and the benefit of foul trouble for Phoenix in Game 1 to win that one in two overtimes. On Tuesday, the Spurs were down by as many as 14 in the first half before outscoring Phoenix 27-11 in a breakout third quarter.
The Spurs still had to withstand a fourth-quarter surge that got the Suns within five points with 14 seconds to play, but the defending champions now head to Arizona for Friday's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead and home-court advantage in tact.
Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 33 points but struggled after halftime, when he shot 2-of-11 from the field.
The Spurs went up by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter after taking control in the third. But Steve Nash led a 10-0 run to bring Phoenix within 96-91 with 2:44 left on the clock.
Tim Duncan, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds, had a monster dunk with 1:47 to play and Parker followed with a bucket to put San Antonio back up 101-93.
Then Stoudemire hit just his sixth 3-pointer of the season with 14 seconds left - a la Duncan's game-saving 3 in Game 1 - to make it 101-96. After that the Suns resorted to fouling and it was too late.
Nash had 23 points and 10 assists for the Suns. Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Manu Ginobili, who won the NBA's sixth man award on Monday, scored 29 points for San Antonio.
The Suns had five turnovers in the third quarter and went just 3-of-18 in the period, leaving them with an 81-72 deficit with a quarter to play.
Ginobili hit his third 3 of the game early in the fourth and Parker followed, weaving his way through orange-shirted defenders and to the basket for a layup that put San Antonio up 86-73 with 10:40 to play.
Another score by Parker put the Spurs up 94-77 before the Suns started chipping away. O'Neal hit one of two from the line and Nash's dead-on 3 brought Phoenix within 94-81.
Parker pushed the Spurs back up by 15 before Nash led the run that threatened the Spurs' victory.
Grant Hill, who has been bothered by a groin injury and wasn't 100 percent for Game 1, played less than 20 minutes in Game 2 and didn't score.
The Suns shot 61 percent in the first half but couldn't sustain it. The Spurs cut the lead each time before Phoenix could build it back up.
O'Neal didn't get into foul trouble on Tuesday the way he did in Game 1, and it showed. He played more than 18 minutes in the first half and had four blocks and 11 points.
And Stoudemire could neither miss nor be stopped. He was 11-of-14 from the field, penetrating the paint and hitting jumpers for 25 first-half points.
But the Spurs came within striking distance by adopting the Suns' quick game. San Antonio had 18 fast-break points, led by Parker and Ginobili, in the half to the Suns' two.
The Suns led 61-54 at the break.
Michael Finley started the third quarter with eight points of an 11-0 Spurs run and tied the score at 61 with a mid-range jumper.
The Suns came out looking disorganized and missed eight consecutive shots. They didn't score until 5:35 was left in the third quarter off Nash's fade-away jumper.
The Spurs went up by 71-63 when Duncan, posted under the basket, passed to an open Ime Udoka for an easy layup.
Notes: Ginobili was presented the sixth man award before tipoff. Suns G Leandro Barbosa, who won the award last year, came in second. "I think he (Ginobili) should start so that way LB (Barbosa) could get it,'' joked Suns coach Mike D'Antoni. "I think he's one of the best players in the league. Sixth man, first man, third man, he should be on the All-Star team.'' ... Barbosa was 0-of-7 from the field and didn't score Tuesday. ... Spurs F Robert Horry played for the first time since March 21, when he went out with a left knee contusion. He had a big block on O'Neal with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. ... Late in the third Spurs coach Gregg Popovich started the so-called "Hack-a-Shaq'' - having his players intentionally foul O'Neal, a 52 percent career free-throw shooter. It backfired, though, and O'Neal went 5-of-6 from the foul line.