Notebook: Spurs vs. Suns: 12/20/10
QUOTABLE: "Tim Duncan was really magnificent in the third quarter. We executed really well when he was in. And we don't win the game without Gary Neal playing for us." -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
THE STAT: For the first time in four games, the Spurs failed to shoot at least 51 percent from the floor (48 percent tonight). In fact, the Spurs have limited their opponents to less than 50 percent in those same games, but the Suns shot at a 53.5-clip. Phoenix turned this game over -- literally. The Suns committed 15 turnovers -- all but one of them in the first three quarters -- that allowed San Antonio to score 10 more points off turnovers.
TURNING POINT: The Spurs went ahead 57-56 when Duncan stole the inbound pass by Jared Dudley 1:15 into the third quarter. Duncan quickly gathered the ball and passed it out to Manu Ginobili wide open past the 3-point line, who nailed the shot and sent the Spurs on their way. San Antonio opened the third by scoring 25 of the first 30 points in the quarter. By the end of it the Spurs had their highest-scoring quarter of the season with 40.
QUOTABLE II: "I was very happy with the way we played shorthanded. I think Gortat, Pietrus and Vince (Carter) will help. We've just got to keep trying to survive and figure out what we have here." -- coach Alvin Gentry
HOT: A lot of the Suns shot the ball well, including Dudley. He hit 10 of his first 12 shots until finally missing his final four attempts of the game to finish with a game-high 27 points. He only took two shots in 29 minutes last night at Oklahoma City. Robin Lopez made all five of his shots to go along with a 9-of-10 night against the Thunder.
NOT: Channing Frye was the only Suns player to really stink it up from the floor. He finished 1-of-10 and missed all eight of his 3-pointers.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Duncan got his fourth-straight double-double and his fourth-straight night with more than 30 minutes after averaging 29 minutes a game before the current streak. The past four games he's averaging 18.5 points a game and 13 rebounds and 4.25 blocks.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Christmas spirit? As the Suns starting lineup was being announced, the theme to "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" was played in the AT&T Center.
GOOD MOVE: Popovich kept Duncan and DeJuan Blair on the floor for extended minutes in the third, which battered away at a Suns interior defense still awaiting the arrival of Gortat. In the third quarter Duncan had 12 points and nine rebounds along with four assists and a pair of steals. Blair had six points and four rebounds. Phoenix failed to score a second-chance point -- the Suns didn't have an opportunity in that category -- and San Antonio finished 20-10 in points in the paint.
ROOKIE WATCH: Neal, who played in Europe the past two seasons after a college career at Towson, has played 58 minutes the past two nights with the absence of George Hill (right big toe sprain). He hit 7-of-14 shots, and his eight foul shots (he hit seven of them) were a game high. Tiago Splitter failed to play, as was the case with Phoenix's last-minute D-League call-up of Gani Lawal and also recent free-agent pickup Garret Siler.
NOTABLE: San Antonio is 19-0 when scoring 100 points or more.
UP NEXT: For the Suns, Thursday vs. Miami, Sunday @ Clippers, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia. For the Spurs, Wednesday vs. Denver, Thursday @ Orlando, Sunday vs. Washington.