Spurs 92, Suns 85
And Parker’s doing all he can to make it happen.
Parker scored a season-high 35 points to lead the Spurs past the Suns 92-85 on Thursday night and bring them within two games of Phoenix for second place in the West.
“Unbelievable. He was great,” said Tim Duncan, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. “He had a great pace to his game all night. We really needed that push and he really gave it to us.”
Phoenix also made it easier for San Antonio by setting, tying or barely besting several season-lows. The Suns were 2-of-11 from beyond the arc, tying their season low in 3s made. They also tied their season low in field goals made with 32, and their 14 assists were a season low.
“Give them credit,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We got out of our comfort level. We just never seem to find our rhythm.”
Steve Nash led the Suns with 20 points, while Phoenix’s four other starters all scored below their averages. Phoenix had its lowest field-goal percentage of the season—38.6 percent—and beat its season-low point total by just two points.
“The good thing is we played good defense,” Raja Bell said. “The bad thing is we didn’t play good offense. They took advantage of that.”
San Antonio came into Thursday’s game three games behind Phoenix for the No. 2 seed in the West. The Spurs have won seven straight home games against the Suns.
“We have to stand strong at the end of the season. We have seven games left,” the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire said. “We have to step it up a notch.”
The Spurs stayed comfortably ahead in the fourth until Nash’s 3 from the corner, which followed Shawn Marion’s easy dunk, brought Phoenix within eight points with 2:48 left.
Stoudemire followed with a jumper to make it 85-79 with just over two minutes remaining.
Marion, who had nine of his 17 points in the quarter, scored again to make it 85-81.
But Parker tied his season high with a free throw, then Nash’s pass to Stoudemire went out of bounds on the next possession. Parker’s jumper gave the Spurs an 88-81 lead with 31.8 seconds left.
Boris Diaw made it 90-85 with 11.2 seconds left, but that was as close as Phoenix got.
Stoudemire had 15 points, Leandro Barbosa added 12 and Bell had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Suns weren’t able to run the floor as fast as they like. Phoenix went for just six fast-break points in the first half and led 37-36 at the break—a noticeably low points total for a team that averages 110.7.
“We did not get in transition like we wanted to, but that’s rare for us,” Bell said.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half, shooting well below 40 percent. Stoudemire, the Suns’ leading scorer with an average of 20.7 points a game, went just 2-of-9 in the half, including a dunk with 3:50 left in the second quarter that ended a 10-2 Spurs run. Marion, who also started cold, followed with a dunk, his only basket of the first half.
In the third quarter, neither team could hold on to the ball, with four turnovers apiece. But Phoenix’s were more costly.
After Parker completed a 3-point play, he stole the ball from Nash and passed to Finley for a 3 that gave the Spurs a 60-50 lead with 4:46 left in the period.
Spurs starting G Brent Barry was still out with back spasms. F Robert Horry also was out. … Thursday’s game was the second of a four-game road trip for Phoenix. … There were 11 lead changes in the game. … Phoenix ended up with just eight fast-break points, while San Antonio had 19. … The Spurs went 2-1 in their series against Phoenix this season.