"They sliced and diced us and did a real good job of executing their offense."
-Spurs Coach Greg Popovich
Yes, Mr. Popovich, that's exactly right.
Tonight your Phoenix Suns beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-101. In doing so, the Suns took the season series from the Spurs for the second time in the last three seasons (2007-8) and thereby gained a potential head to head tiebreaker over San Antonio.
After a shaky beginning, the Suns found their stride, shooting 50% from the field and limiting the Spurs to 47% and 24% from beyond the arc (6-25). The Suns were also aided by the Spurs 60% (17-28) from the line and 18 turnovers resulting in 26 Suns points.
It was an impressive win for the Suns tonight, who after the end of the first half, never trailed or led by less than 5 points over the Spurs (and it was only for a few seconds before they stretched the lead to 7 or more).
The Suns used an 11-2 run at the end of the 2nd quarter to gain a 61-52 advantage at the half. The run was enabled by some excellent Suns defense. It began with a Grant Hill block of a Tim Duncan layup. Amare Stoudemire stole the resulting Tony Parker pass which led to a J-Rich dunk. Channing Frye then blocked a Tony Parker jumper which ended in a Stat jam off of a Grant Hill feed. After a long Nash 2, Tony Parker turned the ball over. Nash drove, drew the foul and sunk two free throws to end the half.
In the third, the Suns stretched their lead to 14 with the help of 13 Jason Richardson points before the Spurs used a 6-0 run to close to 88-80 at the end of the quarter
In the 4th, Goran Dragic aided the Suns cause with 5 straight points, solid D, while the rest of the Suns squad clamped down on San Antonio. The Spurs gave the ball up 8 times in the quarter and struggled with making shots (with the exception of Roger Mason who led all Spurs scorers with 18).
Steve Nash watched Dragon from the bench as he sat the entire 4th, playing a total of 30 minutes total. Of course that was all Stevie needed to post yet another double-double with 18 and 12.
- Nash: 18/12/4
- Stat: 29/8
- J-Rich: 20 (3-6 from 3)
- Grant Hill: 17/8/4
- Channing: 12/5
- Dragon: being Dragon with energy, defense, speed, and 5 straight in the 4th.
"JD (Dudley) did a really good job on limiting (Manu) Ginobili and we tried to limit (Duncan's) touches as much as we could...We tried to be as active as we can and we tried to change it up as much as we could."
"I don't think anybody was more happy than Steve the way Goran played...I just think that's what makes us a really good team, just the chemistry and the way everyone pulls for each other."
Manu, who was booed every time he touched the ball by the Suns' raucous crowd, finished with 10 points on 5-14 shooting (0-5 from three-point range).
Steve Nash (on Gentry's rotations):
"Alvin's been ballsy that way lately and it's been great... One, it's important to give those guys confidence and, two, it gives us some rest."
"In the first half, we really missed a great opportunity by missing our free throws...But in the second half, our execution defensively wasn't good."
Numbers and Things:
- The Suns have won 30 wins at home for the 24th time in franchise history and for the 12th time in 18 seasons at US Airways Center
- The Suns have won 11 of their last 12 games....have lost once since March 14...are 20-5 since the All-Star Break
- The Suns are 25-6 in their last 31 games, tied with the Cleveland LeBrons for the NBA best record since January 28
- The Suns are 20-5 (.800) at home against the West this season.
- The Suns scored 110 or more points in all three games against the Spurs this season.
- The Suns are undefeated at home when Wil Cantrell attends games (Golden State, LA Clips, Houston, San Antonio...etc)
- The Suns last posted three consecutive 110-point games against San Antonio 22 years ago (That would be 1988).
A solid and needed win by the Suns who watched the Jazz lose but the Nuggets and Mavericks win tonight. The Suns hold on to the 4 seed, trailed by the Jazz at 5. Nash was excellent tonight, penetrating, and keeping the Spurs off guard. He also had 2 long 2s that could have been 3s if his foot wouldn't have been on the line.
A thought on Amare Stoudemire: It was very clear tonight that he and Nash were in sync. Wherever he ends up or whatever he thinks he wants to do, he should think long and hard about leaving his benefactor, Mr. Nash. Maybe there are a couple of guards out there that he can hook up with, but the bottom line is that Amare significantly benefits from Nash's presence of mind to find him. It's a rare quality to find a teammate who knows you so well to get up with the ball where you can do the most damage and be the most successful. Amare wants and probably deserves max money, so perhaps it's all moot. I'm just saying...
Stay tuned for the Pre-game Popovich interview and exclusive photos from Max Simbron
Next up, @ OKC Friday. The home stretch continues...
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