PHOENIX (AP) -- Despite getting a coveted win that kept the San
Antonio Spurs from sweeping them this season, the Phoenix Suns
aren't likely to get overconfident if the teams meet in the
The game left both teams with NBA-best 47-14 records.
"I wanted them to play at full strength, to be honest with
you," Stoudemire said.
However, it was still satisfying to the Suns, who snapped their
longest current losing streak to one team.
Since beating Phoenix in a playoff game on April 27, 2003, the
Spurs had won six consecutive regular-season games and two playoff
contest against the Suns.
"It takes a little momentum out of you when they are not
playing," Phoenix's Shawn Marion said. "But at the same time we
went out and got the win, and that's all that matters."
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said not to read too much into the
ragged, tight game.
"They are an NBA team, and it is hard to play those teams," he
said. "They played a small lineup the whole time, and they had
nothing to lose."
The coveted victory wasn't locked up until Stoudemire, who had
13 points in the fourth quarter, dunked for a 105-98 lead with 1:19
to go on a play that began with Steve Nash missing a short jumper.
Marion deflected the rebound to Joe Johnson, who shoveled it to
Just before that play, Tony Massenberg and Tony Parker missed
layups that would have lifted the Spurs within three points.
"We definitely ran out of gas in the fourth quarter," said
Parker, who had a season-high 30 points despite going scoreless in
fourth. "It just got harder and harder to make stops and get
Marion had 18 points and 17 rebounds and Nash had 11 points and
15 assists. Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points off the bench and
Johnson finished with 12.
The Suns earned their fourth straight win and snapped San
Antonio's five-game winning streak.
Duncan, who turned his right ankle Sunday, played 30 minutes
Tuesday against New Jersey but decided to rest it on the second
half of a back-to-back. Ginobili, who scored a career-high 48
points in San Antonio's come-from-behind 128-123 overtime win in
Phoenix on Jan. 21, also wasn't in uniform.
"I don't think anybody wants them to rest too long," the
Spurs' Brent Barry said. "But I know [coach Gregg Popovich] is
certainly looking toward the future."
The Suns blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter during the
Spurs' comeback win, but barely had a lead to protect this time
after Parker's buzzer-beating jumper cut their lead to 83-80.
Barbosa made a 3-pointer and Stoudemire had a three-point play
in the first minute of the fourth, but Stoudemire also picked up
his fifth foul with 9:34 left and sat out more than 4 minutes.
The Spurs crept within 91-90 on a driving layup by Mike Wilks
with 7:08 remaining.
But Marion dunked and made a layup, and Steven Hunter dunked on
a give-and-go with Marion in the next 1:08 to open a 97-92 lead.
Stoudemire, who had 13 points in the final period, scored the Suns'
last 10 points on three dunks and four free throws.
The Spurs, down 54-44 at halftime, roared back behind Parker,
who had 10 points halfway through the third quarter. Bruce Bowen
capped a 22-12 run with a free throw that tied it at 66 with 5:16
Stoudemire had two quick baskets and Barbosa scored in
transition as the Suns went ahead 74-66, but San Antonio battled
"It's an opportunity for other guys to get a good number of
minutes against a very good basketball team," Popovich said. "You
know, not just compete but get the feel out there on the court."
Stoudemire took advantage of Duncan's absence in the paint,
scoring 11 of Phoenix's first 15 points on three backboard-rocking
dunks, a layup and three foul shots.
But, after the Suns went up 40-26 on a runner by Nash early in
the second, the Spurs went on a 14-6 run in the next 7:14.
Marion took over late in the first half, scoring on an
alley-oop, stealing a pass and dunking again for a 52-42 lead with
1:25 to go.
In addition to the two stars, the Spurs also played without
backup C Nazr Mohammed (groin). ... Phoenix lost swingman Quentin
Richardson (concussion) when Barry kneed him in the chin on a
charge with 5:31 left in the first quarter. ... The Suns have
scored at least 100 points in 14 straight games, the team's longest
such streak since 15 straight in 1996-97.
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