Postgame Central: Suns @ Spurs - April 3, 2011
Box Score & Stats
7The Suns had seven players score in double digits and all 11 active players scored.
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Quote of the Game
"We didn’t come up with any stops, and when you don’t come up with stops, what happened happens. You end up giving up 70 points at the half"
Suns Eliminated From Playoffs With Loss to Spurs
By PAUL J. WEBER
SAN ANTONIO (AP) George Hill scored 29 points and the San Antonio Spurs stopped the longest skid of Tim Duncan's career, beating up the Phoenix Suns 114-97 Sunday and ending a six-game losing streak.
It was a cathartic rout for San Antonio after going winless for two weeks and squandering a once-comfortable lead atop the Western Conference. The win kept the Spurs at least 1 1/2 games ahead of the surging Los Angeles Lakers.
Aaron Brooks and Channing Frye had 14 points apiece for the Suns. The loss guaranteed Phoenix will miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
Matt Bonner added 16 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio (58-19), which remains the NBA's winningest team but lost its air of dominance during the longest slide of Duncan's 14-year career.
It came at a costly time.
San Antonio led the Lakers by seven games following its last win March 21. What followed was Duncan missing four games with a bum ankle, the Spurs choking away games late and jeopardizing the No. 1 seed that had looked all but certain.
Steve Nash stayed in Phoenix to finish getting over the flu. Between the Suns missing their leading scorer and the Spurs desperate for a win, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry had a bad feeling about this blowout even before it started.
"It's going to be really important that we hang in early, because they're going to try and knock you out of the box. They know how important this game is," Gentry said. Phoenix didn't hang in. And the Spurs knocked them out all right.
The Suns trailed by as many as 31 points, and San Antonio's 70 first-half points were two shy of its most in a half this season. Hill scored 24 of those, tying the most points in a half for a Spurs player all season.
Richard Jefferson added 12 points and was the only Spurs starter in double-figures.
Jared Dudley had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Vince Carter also scored 12 for Phoenix.
The Spurs have five games remaining, including three against teams out of the playoff race (Sacramento, Utah and Phoenix again.) The others are at Atlanta on Tuesday - and at the Lakers a week later, a game that could decide the No. 1 seed.
Although the loss officially eliminated Phoenix from the playoff chase, the Suns essentially saw their postseason hopes vanish during a miserable March. Phoenix went 5-11 last month and has lost 10 of its last 14 games.
It's been a steep fall for the team that reached the Western Conference finals last season and took the Lakers to six games. But an overhauled roster never made a late, long winning surge as did Suns teams in previous years.
"It's been a tough year," Gentry said before tipoff. "We haven't been able to put together a string of wins like we've had the six years. ... We were able to get separation or get back in. But we just haven't been able to do that this year."
Notes: Gentry said Nash could return before Phoenix's next game at Chicago on Tuesday. ... The longest losing skid for the Spurs previously in the Duncan era was four games ... After the Suns swept the Spurs from the West semifinals last season, the Spurs will try to sweep this year's season series April 13 in the regular-season finale.
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