Suns 103, Spurs 87

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PHOENIX (AP)—Amare Stoudemire earned a spot on the All-Star team Thursday afternoon and validated the decision hours later.

Stoudemire had 24 points and a career-high 23 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns rallied to beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-87 Thursday night.

“I’ve worked hard the last year and during the offseason, strengthening the muscles in my knee,” said Stoudemire, who along with Steve Nash and Shawn Marion were added to the All-Star team as reserves.

Leandro Barbosa scored 25 points, Boris Diaw had 16 and Nash added 13 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who won for the third time in 13 regular-season games against the Spurs.

Phoenix, which had its franchise-record 17-game winning streak snapped Monday in Minnesota, has won 10 straight at home and 36 of 40 since starting the season 1-5.

Included in those first six games was a 111-106 overtime loss in San Antonio in Stoudemire’s season debut.

“The team that played those guys in early November is not even close to being the same team today,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Manu Ginobili scored 32 points for the Spurs, who have lost two straight. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each added 20 for San Antonio. Duncan also had 18 rebounds.

“We had a really tough game against a difficult team (Utah on Wednesday) and today we played a team that runs fastest in the league,” Ginobili said. “It’s hard to keep up with them. But I don’t believe we lost because of being tired. They made key shots. We didn’t.”

The Spurs took a 78-77 lead on Ginobili’s 3-pointer with 8:09 to play. But Stoudemire was fouled on a layup for a three-point play and Barbosa added a 3-pointer to give the Suns an 83-78 lead.

San Antonio closed to 85-84 when Parker hit a long jumper with 5:22 to go. But Diaw scored four points and Barbosa added his second 3-pointer to key a 10-2 run, with Nash adding a free throw after the basket when he was fouled away from the shot, that put Phoenix ahead 95-85 with 2:22 remaining.

“I don’t think we were worn out,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They played better than us. They made some shots down the stretch. We didn’t make shots. They got away from us once in a while in transition but overall we did a pretty good job.”

The Suns rallied from a three-point halftime deficit, opening the third quarter on a 15-3 run aided by the Spurs’ 1-for-10 start from the floor.

Barbosa scored four straight points, Stoudemire added a long jump shot and Marion had a layup as the Suns took a 65-56 lead with 6:56 left in the third.

Parker scored four straight points and Ginobili added a 15-footer to cap an 8-0 run as San Antonio pulled within 65-64 just 90 seconds later.

Phoenix responded with a 7-0 run of its own only to see the Spurs score the quarter’s final six points and cut the Suns’ lead to 72-70 at the end of three.

Duncan scored six early points and the Suns missed nine of their first 10 shots as the Spurs opened an 18-7 lead with 4:00 left in the first quarter.

Marion hit a 3-pointer and Stoudemire added a layup off an offensive rebound and a 17-foot jumper with 30 seconds left as Phoenix pulled within 22-16 at the end of the period.

“I don’t know what happened,” Barbosa said. “We didn’t start the way we are supposed to start, but at the end of the game we did a great job and we won.”

Duncan scored 10 points in the first quarter but missed seven of his final nine field-goal attempts.

“We played pretty well,” Duncan said. “There were just too many mistakes for us. I also missed a whole lot of stuff close to the basket that they were able to transition with. They just turn those things into points very quickly.”

Notes

The Suns have not lost consecutive games since losing four straight November 3-9. … Ginobili finished two points shy of his season high. … Phoenix guard Raja Bell left the game with 9:09 left in the first half with inflammation in his left knee and did not return. … Stoudemire was assessed a technical after a collision with Ginobili with 9:07 remaining. Ginobili drove toward the basket, leaped to shoot and caught Stoudemire in the groin with a knee as Stoudemire delivered a hand to the Spurs’ guard’s face. “I think they’re on purpose,” Stoudemire said of Ginobili’s leading knees. “He’s a flopper and likes to cause contact.” Said Ginobili, “I think I was in motion before he came. I had of course no intention of hurting anybody.” … Nash has double-digit assists in 13 of 14 games including 10 straight.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Antonio
T. Duncan T. Duncan
6-18,  20 Pts
18 Rebs, 4 Assists
 Phoenix
A. Stoudemire A. Stoudemire
9-18,  24 Pts
23 Rebs, 0 Assists

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Thursday, Feb 1