for this game

Ginobili helps Spurs take 3-2 lead in series vs. Suns

May 17, 2007 - 8:02 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- When it counted the most, the San Antonio Spurs had too many weapons and the Phoenix Suns ran out of gas.

Bruce Bowen hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Manu Ginobili supplied a spark off the bench as the Spurs rallied late for an 88-85 victory over the shorthanded Phoenix Suns in Game Five on Wednesday night.

Ginobili had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Tim Duncan added 21, 12 and five blocks for San Antonio, which can advance to the Western Conference finals with a win at home in Game Six on Friday.

"I had a pretty good game, and actually a pretty good second half," Ginobili said. "I made a couple shots and everything opened up for me. It was a great team job especially down the stretch, we were good and made good shots, especially the one Bruce had from the corner. I am really proud of what we have done."

A 6-6 guard from Argentina, Ginobili made 7-of-15 shots, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range. He also three assists and two steals.

"Manu had a good night, he did a better job of taking what was given and not trying to force the action, assisting with his teammates and not worrying about anything else; if it comes it comes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The Suns entered missing All-Star Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, who each drew automatic one-game suspensions for leaving the bench area in the waning seconds of Monday's Game Four, when Spurs forward Robert Horry blasted Steve Nash into the scorer's table.

Horry was suspended two games for the incident.

Trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Spurs got within striking distance behind an impressive 13-4 surge, capped by Ginobili's 3-pointer from the right wing to close to 71-69 at the 8:04 mark.

Nash stepped up to answer the call as he drained a shot from the arc and then fed Kurt Thomas, who converted a three-point play as the Suns pushed their lead to 77-69 with 5:41 remaining.

However, San Antonio refused to give up as Ginobili scored five points during a 10-2 surge to tie the game at 79-79 with 2:29 left.

The Spurs had two chances to take their first lead of the second half, but Ginobili was called for an offensive foul against Raja Bell and threw the ball away following a steal at the 1:31 mark.

But after Shawn Marion's missed jumper on Phoenix's next possession, Tony Parker drove the lane and kicked it to a wide-open Bowen for a 3-pointer from the right corner for an 84-81 lead.

"I practice, practice, practice," Bowen said. "I am fortunate enough to have that shot in a situation like this but it starts in the summer time and it pays off. I have that shot a lot. It feels great from the things that you are hearing from the sidelines and the fact that I had an opportunity to do something with it."

"We got a run going and kept playing defense and got the win in the end," said Parker, who scored 11 points. "I think it was just mental. We really wanted it."

Phoenix still had a chance to make things interesting when Duncan missed a pair of free throws, leading to two made foul shots by Nash to make it 84-83 with 11 seconds to go.

Ginobili sank a pair from the line and Nash misfired from 3-point range to seal the triumph for the Spurs, who made 7-of-11 3-pointers after halftime.

"It's hard not to get fired up with this atmosphere and it being Game Five to make it to the conference finals," Ginobili said. "(Wednesday) was a great game to play; we made it through a lot of adversity and we responded. I am very happy and proud."

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni felt his team just ran out of gas.

"Steve played 47 (minutes)," D'Antoni said. "I didn't realize he played that many but Leandro Barbosa got in foul trouble, this and that, everything's going good and you don't want to lose a lead of 10 points.

"If you had it to do all over again and you say Steve was going to run out of gas, obviously I'd (give him a breather). I'm just really proud of them and we won't second guess ourselves on anything. We do have two fresh guys coming in on Thursday so they'll be ready to go Friday."

The Suns did not let the absence of Stoudemire and Diaw affect their play in the first half as they jumped out to a 44-33 advantage at intermission. Marion led the charge with 20 points.

"The first half we played well but we could have gotten more out of each of us," Nash said. "I think we could have played better. We played with a lot of energy and heart, the crowd was great, they missed some shots they usually make but we scrapped."

"They learned how to play without Amare, they did it the whole season last year and got to the Western Conference finals," Bowen said. "In the first half they were moving the ball and Marion was fantastic. A basketball game is 48 minutes."

San Antonio's 33 points in the opening half was its lowest output of the entire season.

"We don't want to come back here," Bowen said. "It's going to take a tremendous effort. We know they're going to be ready to go. They're going to have their horse back and we have to come out and play a better basketball game in the first half than we did."

Marion finished with 24 points and 17 boards and Nash had 19 and 12 assists as the Suns shot 40 percent (31-of-77) from the field and committed 15 turnovers.

"I think we left it on the floor; what more can you ask of this team?" Marion said. "I think it was a great effort. For the most part we had control of this game, but it was just a matter of can we get some stops at the end and pull it out. We came up a little short."


    May 17 1:22 AM
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    Spurs vs. SunsMay 17 1:08 AM
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    May 16 11:12 PM
  • mark this is going to be such a good game.

    Spurs vs. SunsMay 16 8:43 PM
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