PHOENIX (AP)—Jake Voskuhl had never made a game-winning basket—not in grade school or high school. Not in his days at Connecticut, and certainly never in the NBA.
Until Sunday night.
The backup center scored on a jump hook over Tim Duncan after receiving a pass from Penny Hardaway with 2.3 seconds left to give Phoenix an 86-84 come-from-behind victory over the Spurs.
“Normally, I’m running out to set screens,” Voskuhl said. “The ball ended up in Penny’s hands. Penny beat his defender. My defender went to help pick up Penny, and Penny flipped it to me. I just turned around and hit a hook shot.”
It was the Suns’ only lead of the fourth quarter.
Duncan, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds, missed an off-balance 16-footer at the buzzer.
The victory tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2, with Game 5 Tuesday night in San Antonio.
“We were sloppy,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It was gross turnovers that made for easy layups at the other end.”
San Antonio committed 25 turnovers resulting in 33 Phoenix points.
“We just kind of gave it to them,” said Duncan, who had six of the turnovers, “and they were there to take it.”
Stephon Marbury, who said he had no feeling in his right arm after a collision with Malik Rose in the third quarter, scored 18 points. Shawn Marion had 17 points and Hardaway had 13 points and seven assists, including the game-winner. Scott Williams added 10 for the Suns.
San Antonio’s Bruce Bowen, 3-for-18 from the field in the first three games of the series, shot 7-of-8—five of them 3-pointers—for a career playoff high 19 points, but didn’t take a shot in the final 6:55. Tony Parker added 19 points, 15 in the first half.
San Antonio led by 12 early in the fourth quarter and was up 75-64 after Bowen made his last 3-pointer with 6:55 remaining.
Hardaway and Joe Johnson, who scored six crucial points in the fourth quarter, made consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a 12-2 run that cut the lead to 77-76.
Duncan’s three-point play with 3:12 left made it 80-76. Johnson made one of two free throws before Marbury—who aggravated a stretched nerve in his shoulder in a third-quarter collision with Rose and was awful from outside after that—missed two free throws with 2:39 to go.
The game was tied twice more, the last at 84-84 on Hardaway’s two free throws with 44.1 seconds to go.
Marbury usually is the one to take the last shot in a close game.
“I did want that last shot, but I knew I wasn’t going to shoot a jump shot, because I couldn’t,” Marbury said. “I had no feeling in my arm. I had to really concentrate on passing the ball.”
Marbury dribbled the clock down and then got the ball to Hardaway, whose drive drew two defenders. He dished the ball to Voskuhl, who made the shot as the crowd erupted.
“The ball just ended up in my hands. I just tossed it up and it went in,” said Voskuhl, who scored all seven of his points in the second half. “This was great for the team, great for the city. We feel we have a real chance to knock out San Antonio.”
Voskuhl’s two big late baskets were his only shots of the game, and two is about his usual total.
“We love his intensity,” coach Frank Johnson said. “He blocks shots, he rebounds and he plays tough defense.”
Only two eighth-seeded teams in NBA history have knocked off a No. 1 seed, but the Suns have a legitimate chance of becoming the third. They defeated San Antonio three times during the regular season, then won on the Spurs’ home court in Game 1 of this series.
“When our backs are up against the ball, we continue to play. We never back down. You’ve got to have heart, and we have a lot of heart,” Marbury said.
After Duncan made one of two free throws, Amare Stoudemire was called for an offensive foul, his fifth foul of the game. But Marbury stole the ball from Duncan for a breakaway layup that cut the Spurs’ lead to 77-74 with four minutes remaining.
Double-teamed incessantly in the first three games of the series, Duncan faced two defenders only periodically. He was 5-for-6 for 11 points in thefirst half.
Bowen’s previous playoff high was 13 points against the Los Angeles Lakers last season. … After averaging 22 points in the first three games, Jackson was 0-for-4 from the field and scored two point. … The Spurs have won 19 of their last 22 road games, but two of the losses came in Phoenix. … Tom Gugliotta, who had played one minute in the first three games, played nineminutes and scored four points.