Duncan powers Spurs past Suns in Game ThreeMay 13, 2007 - 5:45 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan is showing his MVP form again, and that's bad news for the Phoenix Suns.
Duncan scored 33 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 108-101 victory over the Suns in Game Three of their Western Conference semifinal series.
San Antonio took a 2-1 lead in the series thanks to Duncan, the two-time MVP who is averaging 31.7 points in the three games. Game Four is here on Monday night.
"Tim was great. He shot the ball, he rebounded, he found open people, and he guarded and blocked shots," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He had a fantastic night, and I think it really carried the other players."
Manu Ginoboli added 24 points, including 10 in the final two minutes of the third quarter despite a bloodied eye, as the Spurs took control of the game.
It was a dramatic turnaround for Ginobili, who had accounted for just 14 points combined on 5-of-18 shooting in the first two games.
"I was never worried about Manu. I knew he was going to come back," Spurs point guard Tony Parker said. "He made a couple layups early in the game and got his confidence going, and then he got his outside shot going. It was good to see him play like that because we are going to need him down the road. Especially if we are going to win the series, Manu has to play at a high level."
The Suns had trouble keeping pace due to the troubles of their one-two punch. Two-time MVP Steve Nash was scoreless in the first half before finishing with 16 points, and Amare Stoudemire was limited to just 20 minutes because of foul trouble and scored 21 points.
"I just had a bad game, and that was frustrating in such a big game," Nash said. "It happens from time to time, but that's basketball and that's life. I just have to be positive, be aggressive and go for it. I can't explain it, but it wasn't my night."
Shawn Marion led Phoenix with 26 points.
With San Antonio clinging to a 72-71 lead late in the third quarter, Ginobili drove to the basket and ran into the hand of Marion, ending up with a bloody eye.
That seemed to spark the Argentine guard, as he outscored the Suns, 8-0, in the next 1:15 to help the Spurs take an 80-72 lead after three periods.
"It really helped me, because I got upset and started to attack the rim even harder," Ginobili said. "And from that point, everything changed for me. I think it actually helped me."
"I think it straightened out his shot a little bit," Duncan quipped.
It became a harder climb for the Suns when Stoudemire picked up his fifth foul just 19 seconds into the fourth and the Spurs capitalized, stretching the advantage to 86-74 before Nash buried a 3-pointer.
"It definitely gave those guys a spark," Stoudemire said. "With Ginobili scoring the ball so well and me getting into foul trouble, the momentum changed there and we tried to claw our way back in there, but we couldn't quite close it out."
Nash hit again from the arc to cut the lead to 94-87 with 5:22, but Robert Horry lived up to his big-shot reputation by answering with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
A dunk by Stoudemire brought the Suns within 99-93, but Duncan converted a three-point play at the other end to push the lead to 102-93 with exactly 3:00 left.
The Suns made one final push, closing within 104-98 on a 3-pointer by Marion with 1:42 left, but Michael Finley ended the suspense by hitting from the arc to restore the lead to nine with 1:25 to go.
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni knew his team was in trouble with Nash struggling and Duncan and Ginobili thriving.
"He was probably pressing a little bit and missed some of the shots he usually makes. He just didn't have a great game," D'Antoni said of Nash. "They did a good job, but we hung in there. Manu scored 24 points and Tim Duncan was Tim Duncan. He's really good. No, he's not really good. He's great."
With Stoudemire having accused the Spurs of dirty play after Game Two, a minor flap occurred in the third quarter when Bruce Bowen appeared to knee Nash in the groin, sending the Suns' point guard sprawling to the floor.
"He was crowding me, and you're taught to get people off you," Bowen said. "I went up to him and told him I didn't mean it, and he said that he knew that and we gave each other a five."
Less than 30 seconds later, Stoudemire picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench, but Marion had a pair of baskets in a 7-0 run to give the Suns a 60-56 lead.
San Antonio answered by raining in three straight from the arc - the final two by Bowen - to surge to a 65-60 lead with 7:17 left in the period.
Nash finally registered his first field goal with 4:59 left in the period, breaking an 0-for-9 start, and later added a three-point play, but Ginobili's late spurt put San Antonio in command.
"Both teams played their (butts) off," Popovich said. "They played hard. It's a contact sport. Playoffs are physical. End of story."
SAN ANTONIO 108 FINAL
May 12 10:57 PM
SAN ANTONIO 80 END, 3RD QTR
May 12 10:16 PM
SAN ANTONIO 55 HALFTIME
May 12 9:25 PM
SAN ANTONIO 25 END, 1ST QTR
May 12 8:46 PM
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