Suns Start Strong, Still Lose to Spurs

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If the Suns are to make the playoffs, they'll need to do it without a win they appeared well on their way to pocketing.

After jumping out to a whopping 21-point lead in the first quarter at San Antonio, the Suns were unable to cool down Danny Green (33 points) and Tony Parker (14 points in the fourth quarter) as the Spurs came back to take the 112-104 win from Phoenix.

The letdown spoiled another superb outing from Eric Bledsoe, who finished just shy of a triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds nine assists and three steals.

After scoring 37 in the first quarter, the Suns mustered just 42 in the second half while committing 18 turnovers that led to 26 Spurs points.

The loss dropped Phoenix to ninth, tied with Memphis (who owns the head-to-head tiebreaker) and a half-game back of the Mavericks.

The Suns play at Dallas tomorrow.

TURNING POINT

After a Gerald Green three-point tied the game at 81-81 late in the third quarter, the Suns had a chance to retake the lead on a fast break.

Markieff Morris, however, couldn't convert on a dunk attempt, P.J. Tucker missed inside after Ish Smith found him following the offensive rebound, and then Tucker missed tipping in his missed shot.

The Spurs closed the half on a 5-0 run.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Bledsoe tied his career-high of 30 points, which he had set exactly one week earlier at home against Portland.

Over his last nine games, the fourth-year guard is averaging 19.7 points while shooting 46.4 percent from three to go along with 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT

STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT

0: the number of times both San Antonio and Phoenix have both featured healthy starting lineups in their four meetings this season. Goran Dragic was the latest casualty, sitting out tonight's game for Phoenix while Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were held out on the Spurs' end.

HIGHLIGHT RUNNER-UP