Mason's shot lifts Spurs over SunsDec 25, 2008 - 11:37 PM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Roger Mason became the latest member of the San Antonio Spurs to torment the Phoenix Suns.
Mason hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give the San Antonio Spurs a 91-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
With the Spurs trailing by two in the game's waning seconds, Tony Parker drove into the lane and kicked the ball to the left corner where a wide-open Mason drilled the shot as the buzzer sounded.
"It was designed to go to Tony," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said about the play. "There were shooters in the corners, Tony made the decision on what was available. We said we don't care if it's a two or a three, if you've got a three take it, and Tony made a great decision and hit the open man."
Mason, who is in his first season with the Spurs, finished with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting.
The fifth-year man became the latest hero for the Spurs, who have eliminated the Suns from the playoffs three of the past four seasons.
"We just had a breakdown," first-year Phoenix coach Terry Porter said. "Grant (Hill) did a great job of guarding a guy, a guy in the corner got suckered in and allowed Mason to get some space - give Tony Parker some credit, he found him."
Hill had put the Suns ahead, 90-88, scoring on a baseline layup with under five seconds to play.
Parker scored 27 points and Tim Duncan had 25 and 17 rebounds - despite foul trouble - to lead San Antonio, which won its fourth straight game.
"Once they saw I had five, they would come at me no matter what who I was guarding whether it was Shaq or Amare (Stoudemire)," Duncan said. "They chose Amare and I was physical with him, I didn't back down or change my defense in any way, thought team-wise we did a pretty good job of sticking with him, and not getting that last foul."
The Suns led by as much as 79-71 in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs scored eight straight to tie the game with 8:29 remaining.
With the game still tied later in the quarter, Parker scored four straight to put San Antonio on top, 88-84, with 3:27 left.
Jason Richardson made a 3-pointer to pull Phoenix within one and, following a couple of scoreless minutes, Steve Nash made a technical free throw to tie the score at 88-88 with 1:01 left. Parker was given a technical foul after he argued a non-call following a missed shot.
"It was a good game," Nash said. "They just made one more play than we did. It's pretty simple."
Phoenix scored the game's first 11 points but never maintained a comfortable margin. San Antonio managed to stay close despite 33 percent (16-of-48) shooting, trailing, 45-39, at the break.
San Antonio used a 13-4 run early in the third quarter to take its first lead, 54-52, with 6:30 left in the session.
That would be the Spurs only lead of the quarter as the Suns scored 10 of their final 18 third-quarter points from the foul line to take a 76-71 lead entering the fourth. San Antonio used the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy on O'Neal in the final minute, but Phoenix's big man made five of his six attempts.
Stoudemire had 25 points and 13 rebounds and O'Neal added 23 and 12 to lead the Suns. Nash finished with 13 points and eight assists, becoming the 13th player in NBA history to reach 7,000 assists for his career.
"It was tough to lose the game, from that standpoint the way they won it tonight," Stoudemire said. "We were in total control, we played good enough to win, every time we play the Spurs, some type of big shot ends up happening.
"We have just got to re-group, watch some film and study from this game and figure out what it takes to get those wins."
- ** CONFIRMED **
SAN ANTONIO 91
PHOENIX 90 FINAL
Dec 25 5:13 PM
SAN ANTONIO 71
PHOENIX 76 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 25 4:31 PM
SAN ANTONIO 39
PHOENIX 45 HALFTIME
Dec 25 3:40 PM
SAN ANTONIO 18
PHOENIX 27 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 25 3:06 PM
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