Stoudemire, Suns saddle Spurs with opening lossOct 30, 2008 - 6:04 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns got their new coach his first win against an old nemesis.
Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points and Phoenix coach Terry Porter got off to a good start as the Suns opened up the season with a 103-98 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Stoudemire had eight rebounds and scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, many in a pivotal stretch late in the contest.
"The first one is nice. It's a great way to start the season," Porter said. "You know the Spurs are going to make a run, so it's good to see us hang on down the stretch and get the win in this building."
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each scored 32 points for the Spurs, which lost their first season-opener in the Duncan era.
In a flashback to last season's playoffs, Duncan attempted a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in the game that would have tied the game, but it missed short.
"I thought, 'Oh no, not again,' but luckily, it was a line drive, so it was all good," Stoudemire said.
Parker hit one of two free throws to tie the game, 94-94, with 3:08 left in the fourth. Stoudemire responded with a three-point play, and then a fastbreak layup off a Steve Nash pass - one of his 13 assists - for a quick 99-94 lead.
Stoudemire then threw down a monster one-handed dunk, but Parker hit a layup to cut the lead to 101-98. With under a minute left, Parker had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer, but it bounced off the rim and the top of the backboard. Barbosa then hit a couple of free throws to secure the win.
Behind Duncan, the Spurs took a 32-26 lead before Leandro Barbosa hit two 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run that gave the Suns a 34-32 lead midway through the second. Barbosa finished with 18 points.
Duncan started the second half by scoring eight points in the first three minutes of the third. The Suns seized their largest lead of the game, 69-62, after a Grant Hill jumpshot, but Roger Mason countered with a 3-pointer and Parker hit a jumper.
Parker, who also had five assists and rebounds, then drove on Hill and pumpfaked, forcing Hill to foul Parker while he banked in the five-footer for a three-point play and a 70-69 Spurs lead.
"Tony was fantastic in the fourth quarter," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
But that was it for praise from Popovich, who was clearly upset with his team's defense.
"It was the worst transition defense I've seen in years," Popovich said. "I can't even imagine how bad it was.
Hill, who scored 13 points, responded with a jumpshot, but Parker again drove in for a 3-point play and a 73-71 edge with 4.6 seconds left in the third. But Hill banked in a buzzer-beating 27-foot 3-pointer for a 74-73 lead heading into the fourth.
The Spurs resorted to Hack-a-Shaq at the end of the first half, and O'Neal responded by hitting 5-of-8 from the free throw line. He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
SAN ANTONIO 98 FINAL
Oct 29 10:35 PM
SAN ANTONIO 73 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 29 9:54 PM
SAN ANTONIO 46 HALFTIME
Oct 29 9:08 PM
SAN ANTONIO 16 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 29 8:30 PM
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