SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns weren't as good as their
Tony Parker scored a season-high 29 points in just 30 minutes,
and San Antonio shot 52 percent in a 115-94 victory that ended
Phoenix's 11-game winning streak and amplified the ongoing chatter
over just how good the Suns really are.
"They just kicked our butts," said Suns point guard Steve
Nash, who scored all 12 of his points in the first quarter. "Maybe
that's good for this team, to face a tough challenge like this. ...
We can make this a turning point in our season. We can learn that
we are not a finished product."
Phoenix's full-throttle offense -- the league's most productive
at nearly 110 points per game -- was ground to a near-halt by the
Spurs' defense -- the NBA's stingiest, giving up an average of 85
points per game.
The Suns, with an NBA-best 24-4 record, didn't break 20 points
in the second and third quarters, and trailed at one point by 31.
"Everybody understood that defense is what was going to do it
for us," said the Spurs' Bruce Bowen. "We know they can score
points, but let's see what they can do against hands being in their
face on contested shots."
San Antonio fell just one point shy of its highest point total
of the season and held the Suns to just one point more than their
Parker, defended mostly by Nash, penetrated seemingly at will.
Eight of his 14 baskets came in the paint.
"You know they are not going to leave Timmy (Duncan) open, so
you have to drive it and make sure you go all the way to the
basket," said Parker, who only had one turnover.
San Antonio, which led 61-54 at halftime, won the game with a
20-6 run to open the third quarter. Parker scored three baskets
inside and Bowen added a pair of 3-pointers during the decisive
Duncan had 16 points and 12 rebounds and matched his season high
with six assists. Malik Rose had 16 points and Manu Ginobili 13 for
the Spurs, who limited Phoenix to a season-low 39.7 percent
Amare Stoudemire scored 37 points for the Suns.
Shawn Marion, averaging 20.2 points, scored only six on 2-for-11
shooting. Aside from Stoudemire (12-for-19), the Phoenix starters
went 9-for-40 from the floor.
The focus on fast-paced offense was clear from the game's first
possession, as Parker drove for an uncontested layup.
The Spurs made nine of their first 12 shots to take a 20-13 lead
after barely five minutes, but a driving finger roll by Nash
ignited a 14-2 run by Phoenix.
Behind Nash, the Suns led by as many as six before San Antonio
pulled to 35-32 on a drive by Ginobili in the final seconds.
The Spurs picked up their defense after Phoenix built its lead
to 43-34 early in the second, the last point coming after San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was hit with a technical foul by
referee Violet Palmer.
The Suns missed 13 of their last 16 shots before the break, and
San Antonio rallied for a seven-point advantage at halftime.
Duncan said Popovich's sideline rant at Palmer was both timely
"It was a great time to do it," he said. "Guys got refocused
and a little bit of a charge."
Marion agreed, saying "When Pop picked up that technical, that
was a big shift in the momentum."
Stoudemire scored 13 of the Suns' 19 points in the second
quarter to end the half with 21. Parker, who also scored 13 in the
second, led the Spurs with 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting.
San Antonio, off to a franchise-best 23-6 start, has beaten
Phoenix five straight times. ... The loss left the Suns with an
11-2 road record. They are 13-2 at home. ... The worst loss of the
season for Phoenix before Tuesday was by five points to Cleveland
last month. ... Parker is averaging 22.8 points on 59 percent
shooting (51-for-86) in his last five games.
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