San Antonio at Phoenix

Suns hold position while ending Spurs' winning streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- The scene was highly unusual in the rugged history of the San Antonio Spurs against the Phoenix Suns.

Steve Nash watched from the bench while the Suns fought off a rally, then pulled away for a 112-101 victory Wednesday night that snapped the Spurs' four-game winning streak and kept the Suns tied for second in the Western Conference with four games to play.

Nash, healthy and having a terrific game, watched the entire fourth quarter while backup Goran Dragic ran the show.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGB
1o-Dallas-
2x-Denver-
3x-Golden State-
4x-Houston-
5y-L.A. Clippers-
6x-L.A. Lakers-
7x-Memphis-
8o-Minnesota-
Still alive
10z-Oklahoma City-
14y-San Antonio-
Eliminated
9o-New Orleans-
11o-Phoenix-
12o-Portland-
13o-Sacramento-
15o-Utah-
Complete Playoff Race

"If we lose, I probably would have gotten fired on the spot," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. "I've got a two-time MVP sitting over there that had a great game."

Amare Stoudemire scored 29 for the Suns, who led by as many as 17 after San Antonio had cut the lead to five early in the final quarter.

Jason Richardson, scoreless against Milwaukee on Sunday, had 20 and Nash had 16 points and 12 assists in Phoenix's 11th victory in 12 games. Richardson also sat out the fourth quarter as Gentry leaned on the bench, because the reserves were playing so well.

"I don't think anybody was more happy than Steve the way Goran played," Gentry said. "I just think that's what makes us a really good team, just the chemistry and the way everyone pulls for each other."

Indeed, that's just the way Nash felt.

"Alvin's been ballsy that way lately, and it's been great," Nash said. "One, it's important to give those guys confidence and, two, it gives us some rest."

Roger Mason led six Spurs in double figures with 18 points. Richard Jefferson added 17.

Manu Ginobili, who had averaged 22.5 points since the All-Star break, scored 10 on 5-of-14 shooting, 0 of 5 on 3-pointers. Tim Duncan had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who fell into a three-way tie for the West's final three playoff spots.

"In the first half, we really missed a great opportunity by missing our free throws," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "But in the second half, our execution defensively wasn't good. I thought they sliced and diced us and did a real good job executing their offense."

Phoenix, which hadn't played since Sunday, took the lead for good with an 11-2 run to close the first half and was up 61-52 at the break.

The Spurs fell to 7-9 when playing the second of back-to-back nights.

"We knew they had played last night," Richardson said. "We knew we had to come in and just run them and tire them out."

Tony Parker, in his second game back from a 16-game absence with a broken right ring finger, had 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting with five assists.

Richardson, bothered recently by a sore back, scored 13 in the third quarter. He dunked after a slick pass from Nash to put Suns up 88-74 with 1:44 to play in the third period. But the Spurs scored the last six of the quarter, capped by Matt Bonner's 9-foot hook shot from the baseline at the buzzer that made it 88-80 entering the fourth.

After Channing Frye's jumper for the Suns, Mason sank a 3-pointer and Parker a 22-footer from the baseline to slice the lead to 90-85 with 10:27 to play, and Gentry called a timeout.

The Suns ran away with it after that.

Phoenix is tied with Denver and Dallas at 51-27. The Spurs are even with Portland and Oklahoma City at 48-30.

"The only way to change your position is to lose, really," Nash said. "We want to try to win every game going in here and most importantly try to play well."

At one point in the first half, the Spurs were 4 for 13 from the foul line. They were 7 for 18 at the break, then 10 for 10 in the second half.

"There were too many things that we could have taken care of that were simple," Duncan said. "Just turning the ball over, missed free throws. We had a bunch of missed assignments defensively. That's a lot of things that we can clean up. It's a disappointing game for us, but such is life. We've got another one in two days."

Notes

  • Duncan left the game with 2:31 left in the first half after taking an elbow to the forehead from Ginobili but was back moments later.
  • Suns C Robin Lopez says there is no timetable for his return from a back injury. He says the bulging disk is to be re-evaluated by doctors next week.
  • Asked before the game how Parker has looked, Popovich said, "He's still cute."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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The Suns handle the Spurs so easily, Steve Nash isn't even needed in the fourth quarter.  (Getty Images)
The Suns handle the Spurs so easily, Steve Nash isn't even needed in the fourth quarter. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
San Antonio (48-30) 29232821101
Phoenix (51-27) «29322724112
SA:R. Mason Jr. 18 Pts
SA:D. Blair 8 Reb
SA:T. Parker 5 Ast
PHO:A. Stoudemire 29 Pts
PHO:G. Hill 8 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 12 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixSan Antonio

A. Stoudemire

R. Mason Jr.
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
29811861
San Antonio
R. Jefferson, SF346-104-761417
T. Duncan, PF345-104-773114
M. Ginobili, SG325-140-034410
G. Temple, PG234-92-420311
A. McDyess, PF213-50-07426
R. Mason Jr., SG317-140-061318
T. Parker, PG255-100-035310
M. Bonner, PF182-41-33305
D. Blair, PF152-42-38006
M. Hairston, SG60-24-41004
G. Hill, PGDid Not Play
A. Gee, SGDid Not Play
C. Jerrells, PGDid Not Play
I. Mahinmi, CDid Not Play
K. Bogans, SGDid Not Play
Totals 39-8217-28462120101
 47.6%60.7% 
Phoenix
A. Stoudemire, PF3613-223-481329
G. Hill, SF356-103-384217
J. Richardson, SG307-133-422020
S. Nash, PG308-142-2412018
J. Collins, C120-10-03040
C. Frye, C324-82-252412
J. Dudley, SF251-30-02323
G. Dragic, PG192-83-32437
L. Amundson, PF152-40-04024
L. Barbosa, SG51-40-00032
R. Lopez, CDid Not Play
T. Griffin, PFDid Not Play
D. Jones, PFDid Not Play
E. Clark, SFDid Not Play
Totals 44-8716-18382823112
 50.6%88.9% 
Other Games
NY 105 Final
Ind 113
Bos 115 Final
Tor 104
Wash 94 Final
Orl 121
Atl 88 Final
Det 90
Phi 95 Final
Mia 99
Char 104 Final
NO 103
NJ 89 Final
Mil 108
GS 116 Final
Min 107
Den 98 Final
OKC 94
Utah 96 Final
Hou 113
Mem 84 Final
Dal 110
Port 93 Final
LAC 85