Parker's late heroics push Spurs past Suns

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- When it was crunch time for San Antonio, the Spurs gave the ball to their leader, point guard Tony Parker, and he delivered down the stretch.
Parker scored 20 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to lead the San Antonio to a 99-96 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.
Forward Miles Plumlee's reverse layup gave the Suns a 96-95 lead with a minute remaining, but Parker raced down the court and hit a jump shot with 31 seconds left.
Parker added a driving baseline layup with 12 seconds to go for the Spurs' final points.
"It was just one of those games," Parker, 31, said of his last-minute performance. "It was weird. In the first half, coach (Gregg Popovich) was trying to rest everybody; back-to-back, and so just got a weird rhythm. In the fourth quarter, we finally got it."
The Spurs needed some good fortune to hang on.
Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe's 3-point attempt with nine seconds left bounced off the rim, but the Suns grabbed the rebound. Suns guard Gerald Green's final 3-point attempt fell short, and San Antonio sealed the win.
"This game is definitely on me today," Green said of his overall play. "My (five) turnovers and me not knocking down that shot, and that dumb offensive foul, you can't have plays like that. It's just a learning experience. One of those things where I got to just swallow it, but it's like swallowing an apple. ... It's hard."
Parker had six assists and finished 9-for-15 from the field in 30 minutes. His 15 fourth-quarter points all came in the final seven minutes.
"Tony is somebody we depend on," Popovich said. "He plays a lot of minutes, and we expect him to be able to give us that offense and distribute the ball and play good defense every single night. He's been doing it for a long time now, so again he did it for us."
Spurs forward Tim Duncan added 17 points and five rebounds. Guard Danny Green contributed 19 points, and center Boris Diaw added 11 points for San Antonio (4-1).
The Spurs shot 11-for-20 (55 percent) in the fourth quarter and hit two 3-pointers down the stretch.
The Morris brothers combined for 34 points to lead the Suns (3-2). Forward Markieff Morris tied a career high with 23 points and added 12 rebounds, while Marcus Morris had 11 points and six boards. Bledsoe and Gerald Green each added 15 points.
Markieff Morris, who was averaging 9.7 points per game, nearly doubled that in the first half, scoring 18 points and leading Phoenix on a 23-6 run. The Suns jumped on top 44-35, their largest lead of the game, in the second quarter.
The Spurs answered with a quick 8-0 run to take a 45-44 lead, but Phoenix went back in front by five before Danny Green's 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer cut the Suns' lead to 53-51.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench midway through the first quarter and sparked a 13-4 run that gave the Spurs a 29-21 lead.
"With a close game like that, it is the little things," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said of a game that was tied 10 times and had 16 lead changes. "Overall I thought our guys played hard. We got down early. Our guys kept fighting and fought right back. We had a chance at the end."
NOTES: Spurs F Matt Bonner did not play due to tightness in his left calf. Bonner was injured during Tuesday's contest against the Nuggets, and he sat out the second half in Denver. ... Before Wednesday, the Suns were off to their best start since 2009, when they opened up the season winning eight of nine. ... Suns G Goran Dragic was scratched for a second straight game. He is nursing a sore left ankle he hurt Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but coach Jeff Hornacek expects back for Friday's game against Denver. ... Boris Diaw got the starting nod at center for San Antonio in place of Tiago Splitter.

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