Ginobili, Parker lead Spurs to big road win over rival SunsJan 30, 2009 - 7:57 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Manu Ginobili may finally be starting to round into shape. On Thursday night, his San Antonio Spurs needed all they could get from him.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year - slowed all season by an ankle that required surgery this offseason - scored a season-high 30 points and put the Phoenix Suns away in the final minute en route to a 114-104 triumph.
Ginobili went 18-of-18 from the foul line, including five in the final 37 seconds.
"I had a lot of lanes to the basket and I had a good start and my confidence went up," Ginobili said. "I felt good going to the rim. I was focusing on that since the last couple of games, in Utah (on Tuesday), I couldn't. But my main focus was to get to the rim. I was lucky to draw some plays and get Shaq out of position a couple of times to get to the free-throw line."
Of course, he didn't hold off the Suns on his own. The Spurs blew a 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter and Phoenix made it a one-possession game on Grant Hill's three-point play, which capped a 12-4 run. But Tony Parker came up big on the other end, burying a 22-footer to give San Antonio a bit of breathing room.
"The whole game was tough," Parker said. "Every time you play Phoenix, you know it's going to be a high-scoring game. We just try to stay close and we are confident in our defense to make stops at the end and we made some big shots at the end."
With 44 seconds remaining, Kurt Thomas stripped Shaquille O'Neal down low in the Suns' last, best chance to cut the lead back down - and Ginobili put the game away at the line.
"Down the stretch we did a real good job defensively," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We got stops the last 3-4 minutes of the game and that's what fueled our offense a little bit. We were fortunate to get the victory and we feel good about it. Kurt was fantastic."
In what was a hotly contested battle throughout, Ginobili scored four points in an 11-2 run late in the second quarter to give the Spurs a three-point lead with just seconds remaining in the half. But Steve Nash answered quickly, burying a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie things up.
The Suns pulled ahead in the third quarter, but Ginobili was there to bring San Antonio right back. The 31-year-old Argentine hit seven straight free throws midway through the period, then capped an 11-2 spurt with a long jumper to give the Spurs an 86-81 lead.
"Tony Parker conducted a great game. His pace was great, Manu's pace was better tonight, nobody was in a hurry," Popovich said. "They looked at situations and tried to take advantage of them. I thought Tony and Manu really played a smart game."
The Southwest Division leaders took control from there, extending their advantage to 100-88 before Amare Stoudemire buried a pair of buckets to spark a mini-rally.
Parker scored 26 points on 12-of-21 shooting and Tim Duncan collected 20 points and 15 boards. The Suns, who have lost four of six, were led by Stoudemire's 28-point, 10-rebound effort.
"I don't think we lost track of our composure, I think we played good enough to win," Stoudemire said. "I think where we lost were a few free throws - they got hot at the free-throw line in the third quarter, something we tried not to allow happen."
O'Neal, who was named to his 15th All-Star Game earlier in the day, was limited to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Nash, who will miss out on the All-Star Game for the first time since 2004, posted 16 points and 18 assists.
"I think we got outplayed tonight by a team that's better than us right now and so we have some work to do," Nash said.
SAN ANTONIO 114
PHOENIX 104 FINAL
Jan 30 1:16 AM
SAN ANTONIO 89
PHOENIX 84 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 30 12:37 AM
NBA SAN ANTONIO 57
PHOENIX 57 HALFTIME
Jan 29 11:43 PM
SAN ANTONIO 53
PHOENIX 54 HALFTIME
Jan 29 11:40 PM
SAN ANTONIO 32
PHOENIX 31 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 29 11:07 PM
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