Spurs look to bounce back after game two loss

The Spurs were hoping this time around Steve Nash wouldn’t come out on fire and torch them for 17 first quarter points. With the Suns leading the best of seven series one game to none, both teams took the court on Wednesday night looking for another tough playoff win.

NashThe Suns wore their “Los Suns” jersey to honor Cinco De Mayo, a nationally celebrated Mexican holiday. The Spurs were asked to participate but could not get their “Los Spurs” jerseys shipped to them in time.

Early in the first quarter the Suns came out flat, missing their first five shots of the game before Grant Hill made a 16 foot jumper to put the score at 4-2 early in favor of the Spurs. Tim Duncan came out ready to play, making his first three shots to get the Spurs going and went five of six for the quarter for 11 points.

Tony Paker also chipped in eight points in the quarter shooting four of five from the field. The rest of the Spurs team could not really get going as the teams traded baskets throughout the quarter and the game was close until a late run in the quarter by the Spurs gave them a nine point lead after one quarter, 30-21.

In the first four minutes of the second quarter the Spurs only managed to produce two points off of a DeJuan Blair layup. Phoenix could not capitalize on the Spurs struggles, only managing to produce six points of their own and the Spurs till held a five point lead, 32-27, with a little over eight minutes to go in the quarter.

After trading baskets during the middle of the quarter, Phoenix hit two back to back three-point shots to pull within two points, 38-40, and forced Coach Gregg Popovich to call a quick 20 second time out to regroup and slow things down. Yet again the two teams would trade baskets as this was a tough grind it out type of game with neither team backing down.

Manu Ginobili finally made a three point shot for the Spurs who had missed their previous 13 tries from the arc, only to be answered by a Channing Frye three pointer and a Amare Stoudemire dunk to tie the game at 51 entering halftime. The Spurs had led by as many as 11 points and Phoenix had not led in the game at all. The Spurs outplayed the Suns only to be tied which had to be demoralizing for them.

Stoudemire made his first shot of the third quarter to give the Suns their first lead of the game, 53-51, only 20 seconds into the second half. The Spurs looked to bounce back with a strong start as Parker stayed hot, scoring on a nine-foot jumper and then a three-point basket to put the Spurs up six, 64-58.

But the Suns would answer with their own run to tie the game back up at 64-64 with 6:37 to go in the quarter. Richard Jefferson got involved in the offense often in this quarter getting two alley oop dunks assisted by Ginobili and Parker. As in the second quarter, the two teams battled back and forth and again the Suns would go on a run to end the quarter going on a 9-0 run before Parker finally made a free throw to end it. After a Grant Hill turnover, Jefferson hit a 19-foot jumper to give him 15 points at this point in the game and put the score at 76-78 in favor of Phoenix after three quarters of play.

Early in the fourth quarter it seemed like every time the Spurs went on a run the Suns would answer with a three point basket to end it. Jared Dudley and Channing Frye hit two crucial three-point shots when it seemed like the Spurs were going to take the lead. The Spurs battled back to tie the game at 80, only to see Dudley hit a three. Then when George Hill made a driving layup, Frye answered with his three to put the score at 88-83 with 7:56 to go in the game.

When the Suns were not making three-point baskets they were converting on old fashioned three-point plays, and the Spurs got desperate and started chunking up three-pointers. Where the Spurs really got hurt was on the offensive rebounds, getting outrebounded 7 to 18. The Spurs went cold late and the Suns continued to stay hot and answered any run that the Spurs threw at them with three-pointers and a pick and roll offense that San Antonio could not stop. The Suns took a 2-0 series lead with a 110-102 victory over the Spurs as the series moves to San Antonio for game three on Friday night at the AT&T Center.

Game Notes

• The Spurs have only been down 0-2 only 4 times in Duncan era. Come back to win only once: ’08 West semis vs Hornets.

• The Suns out rebounded the Spurs 18-7 on the offensive end and 49-37 overall.

• The Spurs lost their 13th straight game when giving up 100+ points.

• Tim Duncan hit his first three point shot of the playoffs, his third overall for the season, although this one did not have a big impact on the game as his last three in the post season against the Suns in 08’.

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