Parker, Spurs take 2-0 lead on SunsApr 23, 2008 - 5:54 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tony Parker had 32 points and seven assists as the San Antonio Spurs came alive in the third quarter en route to a 102-96 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in Game Two of their Western Conference first-round series.
Manu Ginobili, who was presented with the Sixth Man of the Year trophy before the game to a raucous standing ovation, added 29 points for the Spurs, who seized control of the series. San Antonio will head to Phoenix for Game Three Friday with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.
The Spurs used an 11-3 run to start the fourth quarter which gave them a 92-75 lead. But the Suns made a run of their own, trailing just 96-91 with less than three minutes left before Ginobili flipped a pass behind his head for an easy slam by Tim Duncan.
Parker followed with a jumper on the next possession for a 101-93 lead.
"(Parker) was super," San Antonio guard Bruce Bowen said. "We want him to attack like that and get as many easy baskets as he can."
The Spurs held on for their second win of the postseason behind another strong night from Duncan, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich praised Parker for staying aggressive the entire game.
"I'm going to be aggressive regardless," Parker said. "That's my mindset right now. I'm trying to be in attack mode."
Suns forward Grant Hill didn't have an answer for stopping Parker and Ginobili.
"I think the whole league is trying to do that right now," Hill said. "We'll continue to try and make adjustments."
San Antonio outscored Phoenix, 27-11, in the pivotal third quarter. Amare Stoudemire, who scored 25 of his 33 points in the first half, was held scoreless in the period.
The Spurs scored 11 straight to open up the second half and take a 65-61 lead. Phoenix started off the second half 0-of-8 before Steve Nash, who had 23 points and 10 assists, finally hit a fallaway 15-footer with 5:35 left in the third.
"Obviously, the third quarter did us in," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We didn't look good, and it looked like we panicked. We dug ourselves too deep of a hole, but we had a chance at the end."
The Suns, who were outscored, 24-3, in fast-break points, were just 3-of-18 in the quarter.
"Sometimes, the shots don't fall," Stoudemire said. "They played great defense there in the second half, but shots that we normally make didn't fall for us. They took advantage of that. It was a story of both halves. First half, we played well. Second half, they played well. They got the win."
Ime Udoka scored six straight points to extend the lead to 71-63, but the Suns responded with four straight points after a timeout.
At halftime, the Spurs trailed, 61-54, and Duncan, Parker and Ginobili accounted for 51 points. Brent Barry had the other three.
Popovich said he drew up some plays to get his bench involved early in the second half.
"We need everyone to score. Bench guys have to contribute. The entire game can't be on the shoulders of your so-called stars," Popovich said.
The Spurs once again resorted to Hack-A-Shaq late in the third quarter, fouling him three out of four possessions. But the plan backfired, as Shaquille O'Neal made 5-of-6 from the line en route to 19 points. He added 14 rebounds.
"He made the strategy look really stupid," Popovich said.
The first half was similar to Game One for Phoenix, which jumped out to an early 14-point lead.
After Raja Bell's 3-pointer, the Suns grabbed a 26-12 lead with just under three minutes left in the first.
Stoudemire's 14 points paced Phoenix in the first quarter for a 35-26 lead heading into the second. The Suns shot 68 percent in the period. San Antonio then cut it to 38-34, but Phoenix rattled off six straight for a 10-point cushion.
Despite being two games away from elimination, D'Antoni said his team was optimistic.
"Our team has a lot of work ahead, but we're not discouraged. We have shown we can be there and win quarters, but sometimes, we just come out flat," D'Antoni said.
SAN ANTONIO 102 FINAL
Apr 23 12:25 AM
SAN ANTONIO 81 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 22 11:37 PM
SAN ANTONIO 54 HALFTIME
Apr 22 10:44 PM
SAN ANTONIO 26 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 22 10:08 PM
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