Phoenix at San Antonio

Spurs extinguish Suns to snap two-week-long swoon

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN ANTONIO -- The longest losing streak of Tim Duncan's career is over. The San Antonio Spurs coasted in a blowout and stayed atop the Western Conference.

Now they have to keep it up for five more games.

George Hill scored 29 points and the Spurs ended a six-game losing streak by beating up the Phoenix Suns 114-97 on Sunday. It was a cathartic rout after San Antonio went winless for nearly two weeks and squandered their once-comfortable position for the No. 1 seed in the West.

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"Before the game, our three leaders spoke up and tried to say that everyone needs to hold themselves accountable," said Hill, referring to the championship core of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. "It's not about one person on this team, it's about the whole team."

The win kept the Spurs at least 1½ games ahead of the surging Los Angeles Lakers, who played later Sunday. Three of San Antonio's final five games are against teams out of the playoff race -- including Phoenix again -- but one of the other two is April 12 at the Lakers.

Thanks to San Antonio's untimely faltering, that game could decide who gets home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

"Nobody will turn down momentum going into the playoffs," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Aaron Brooks and Channing Frye had 14 points apiece for the Suns. The loss guaranteed that Phoenix, which swept the Spurs out of the playoffs last year to reach the Western Conference finals, will miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Suns guard Steve Nash stayed in Phoenix because of the flu. Between the Suns missing their leading scorer and the Spurs desperate for a win, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry had a bad feeling about this blowout even before it started.

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 >>

"We knew they were going to have a reaction, obviously they lost six straight games," Gentry said. "They're fighting like crazy to stay ahead of the Lakers, and the Bulls. Obviously, it becomes really important to them, and they played that way."

Matt Bonner added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs (58-19), who are the NBA's winningest team but they have lost an air of dominance during the longest slide of Duncan's 14-year career.

San Antonio led the Lakers by seven games following its previous win on March 21. What followed was Duncan missing four games with an ankle injury, the Spurs choking away games late and jeopardizing the top seed that had looked all but certain.

"We've got a lot of confidence, and hopefully we can finish in first place," Parker said.

The Suns trailed by as many as 31 points, and San Antonio's 70 first-half points were two shy of its most in a half this season. Hill scored 24, tying the most points in a half for a Spurs player all season.

Richard Jefferson added 12 points and was the only Spurs starter in double-figures.

Jared Dudley had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Vince Carter also scored 12 for Phoenix.

Although the Suns were officially eliminated on Sunday, they essentially saw their postseason hopes vanish during a miserable March. Phoenix went 5-11 last month and has lost 10 of 14.

It's been a steep fall for the team that took the Lakers to six games last year in the West finals. But an overhauled roster never made a late, long winning surge as Suns teams had in previous years.

Suns center Marcin Gortat didn't want to talk about whether finding the motivation is getting harder.

"I don't want to answer that question, but I'll just tell you one thing, I'm embarrassed," Gortat said. "I'm glad in the second half we stepped up a little bit and didn't get blown out by 40 or 50, but it's embarrassing."

Notes

  • Gentry said Nash could return before Phoenix's next game at Chicago on Tuesday.
  • The longest losing skid for the Spurs previously in the Duncan era was four games.
  • After the Suns swept the Spurs from the West semifinals last season, the Spurs will try to sweep this year's season series April 13 in the regular-season finale.
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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Tim Duncan looks for an opening against Suns center Robin Lopez on Sunday. (Getty Images)
Tim Duncan looks for an opening against Suns center Robin Lopez on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Phoenix (37-39)2026252697
San Antonio (58-19) «35352123114
PHO:C. Frye 14 Pts
PHO:J. Dudley 10 Reb
PHO:A. Brooks 6 Ast
SA:G. Hill 29 Pts
SA:M. Bonner 11 Reb
SA:T. Parker 8 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixSan Antonio

Jared Dudley

George Hill
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
121032914
Phoenix
J. Dudley, SF324-94-5103112
C. Frye, C315-73-342214
G. Hill, SF264-90-022211
A. Brooks, PG265-123-306314
M. Gortat, PF255-100-090010
V. Carter, SG256-110-021412
Z. Dowdell, PG223-110-01136
J. Childress, SF192-50-03004
R. Lopez, C174-72-310010
H. Warrick, PF131-20-04212
G. Siler, C61-20-01012
S. Nash, PGDid Not Play
M. Pietrus, SGDid Not Play
G. Lawal, PFDid Not Play
Totals 40-8512-1437171797
 47.1%85.7% 
San Antonio
T. Parker, PG282-113-45807
R. Jefferson, SF264-50-070012
M. Ginobili, SG243-80-03226
T. Duncan, PF184-70-04318
A. McDyess, PF184-80-05328
G. Hill, PG2610-165-514329
M. Bonner, PF246-101-1114116
J. Anderson, SG181-53-42015
G. Neal, PG186-90-014315
T. Splitter, PF171-21-43013
D. Blair, PF171-60-08022
S. Novak, SF61-20-01013
C. Quinn, PGDid Not Play
D. Green, SFDid Not Play
D. Butler, SFDid Not Play
Totals 43-8913-18512817114
 48.3%72.2% 
Other Games
Den 95 Final
LAL 90
Det 90 Final
Bos 101
Mia 108 Final
NJ 94
Cle 107 Final
NY 123
Utah 97 Final
Sac 106
Orl 98 Final
Tor 102
Wash 97 Final
Char 91
Ind 96 Final
NO 108
Atl 109 Final
Hou 114
Dal 96 Final
Port 104