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Spurs KO Rattled Suns to Close Out Series
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The San Antonio Spurs took advantage of a Suns team struck late by butterflies and butterfingers to knock off Phoenix 92-87 on Tuesday night and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan scored nine points apiece in the final quarter of Game 5, thanks partly to seven fourth-quarter Suns turnovers, as Phoenix fell apart down the stretch in what looked like a bad case of elimination-game jitters. Parker finished with a game-high 31 points and eight assists, while Duncan tallied 29 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Boris Diaw, who came through for a 20-point, 10-rebound double stack in Phoenix's Game 4 win, continued that strong play for three quarters in San Antonio, scoring 18 points as the Suns rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to take a 72-69 lead into the fourth. The fifth-year forward scored four more in the final stanza, but also made two crucial turnovers and had clearly lost the confidence he'd played with early in the game.

Diaw wasn't the only Sun who struggled. After notching just four points and no assists in the first half, Steve Nash scored 11 in the second but turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter, twice in the last minute-and-a-half, as the entire Suns frontcourt -- Diaw, Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal -- was hampered with five fouls each. Stoudemire, who failed to score down the stretch, finished with 15 points and 11 boards.

Also, the Spurs again put coach Gregg Popovich's "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy to good use. From the 2:58 mark in the first quarter until halfway through the third, "Deisel" made 14 trips to the charity stripe , coming away with five points, until Suns coach Mike D'Antoni finally sat him for the rest of the period. In the end, O'Neal went 9-for-20 from the line and finished with 13 points and nine boards. (One Shaq-hacker, Jacque Vaughn, checked into the game twice, tallying 38 seconds and two fouls on the night.)

With this contentious series wrapped up, the Spurs have a few days off before taking on the No. 2-seed New Orleans Hornets, who eliminated the Dallas Mavericks on Monday in another dominating performance. This Western Conference semifinal matchup is set to open Saturday, May 3, on TNT.

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December 17, 2007
Suns 100, Spurs 95 | Box | Video
Grant Hill scored 22 points and the Phoenix Suns handed the San Antonio Spurs their first home loss of the season, 100-95.
January 31, 2008
Spurs 84, Suns 81 | Box | Video
Tim Duncan hit a big shot and Manu Ginobili hit four late free throws as the undermanned Spurs rallied to beat Phoenix.
March 9, 2008
Suns 94, Spurs 87 | Box | Video
Steve Nash 19 points and 14 assists, helping the Suns to a rugged 94-87 victory over the Spurs.
April 9, 2008
Suns 96, Spurs 79 | Box | Video
Steve Nash recorded a double-double as the Suns rolled over the Spurs in a late-season matchup.

Oct. 26
Rosters set for opening day

Oct. 27
Start of 2009-10 regular season

April 18
2009 NBA Playoffs begin

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