San Antonio wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

San Antonio wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Game 3: Friday, April 25th
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st

Spurs 99

(60-22, 27-14 away)

Suns 86

(44-38, 30-11 home)

    7:00 PM ET, April 25, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 25 28 16 3099
    PHX 18 18 20 3086

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 11 Pts, 23 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Blk

    PHX: S. Marbury 25 Pts, 1 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Parker provides huge spark for Spurs

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Tony Parker found his shot, and the San Antonio Spurs find themselves back in control of their first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.

    Tim Duncan

    Tim Duncan made only three shots, but had a strong all-around game on Friday.

    Parker, Stephen Jackson and others on Tim Duncan's supporting cast made the Suns pay for their defensive strategy in a 99-86 victory Friday night.

    Parker, 3-for-20 in the first two games of the series, made 12 of 21 shots -- most of them from long range -- for a career playoff-high 29 points.

    "Tony Parker's been important to us all year,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "When he scores, we're really tough.''

    The Suns' only lead was 2-0 as San Antonio turned up the physical intensity to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday night in Phoenix.

    "It's very frustrating to lose the game period, let alone the homecourt advantage,'' the Suns' Stephon Marbury said. "But we've been in this situation, so it's back to the drawing board. We've been giving those guys a steady diet. We have to come up with something different.''

    Parker came out shooting, slump or no slump.

    "I took the same shots the first two games, it's just today it went in,'' he said. "I found a good rhythm. When you make your first couple of shots, you feel pretty good.''

    Jackson added 20 points despite foul trouble, Malik Rose scored 15 and Emanuel Ginobili 12.

    "We said we wanted to make those other guys beat us,'' Marbury said, "and they sure did tonight.''

    Duncan scored just 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting but grabbed 23 rebounds, two shy of his career playoff best, as San Antonio dominated the boards 51-35.

    "If we can win like that, it's great. I've got no problem with it,'' Duncan said. "I said from the beginning that they're going to try to take me out of the series. My shots aren't going to come easy. Those guys did a great job of shooting the ball tonight, attacking the basket.''

    David Robinson, who missed Game 2 with partially torn cartilage in his left knee, started and had eight points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

    Marbury scored 25 points, Shawn Marion 18 and newly named Rookie of the Year Amare Stoudemire added 17 for the Suns, who shot just 38 percent.

    Duncan took only four shots in the first half, and the Spurs still led 53-36.

    "Every time he touches the ball, they double-team and triple-team him,'' Parker said. "It's so good to have a superstar who has so much confidence in his teammates.''

    San Antonio outscored the Suns 17-6 over the last 5:39 of the half. Jackson sank a pair of 3-pointers during the run before going to the bench with three fouls. His replacement, Ginobili, also made a pair of 3's.

    Suns coach Frank Johnson said before the game that if the Spurs were hitting from outside, his team would be in trouble. But even with the double-teams on Duncan, he felt the Suns could have done a better job of defending the perimeter.

    "Parker made his, Jackson made his and Ginobili made some,'' Johnson said. "We're leaving them too wide open. We can't have breakdowns like we had tonight.''

    Phoenix scored the first eight points of the second half, five by Marion, to cut the lead to 53-44. Rebound baskets by Robinson and Bruce Bowen boosted the lead to 57-44, and the Spurs led 69-56 entering the fourth.

    Phoenix briefly cut the lead to 10 before another San Antonio outburst made it 79-58 on Jackson's basket with 8:12 to play.

    Marion's breakaway stuff cut the lead to 94-84 with 2:15 to play, but Jackson's 3-pointer on San Antonio's next possession ended any comeback hopes.

    The Spurs' starting guards -- Parker and Jackson -- were a combined 12-for-18 from the field in the first half for 27 points. Their Suns' counterparts, Marbury and Penny Hardaway, were 6-for-17 for 14 points. The Suns' Joe Johnson was 1-for-11 in the game.

    Game notes

    Jackson was the Suns' second-round draft pick in 1997 but didn't make the team. ... Stoudemire froze Duncan with a fake, then made a spin move with a reverse slam in the first quarter. ... America West Arena was the only place in the Western Conference where the Spurs didn't win in the regular season. ... Duncan flattened Marbury with 6:44 to play in the third. Marbury held his right wrist in pain but stayed in the game. ... Marion went down from an elbow to the face from Robinson with 10 minutes to play but returned to the game a short time later. ... The Spurs' reserves outscored the Suns' 29-13 in the game and 84-34 for the series. ... Duncan's 20 defensive rebounds matched his career playoff high.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 86
    FGM-FGA 36-79 (.456) 33-87 (.379)
    3PM-3PA 7-15 (.467) 4-15 (.267)
    FTM-FTA 20-29 (.690) 16-25 (.640)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-51 13-35
    Assists 27 16
    Turnovers 19 11
    Steals 6 11
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 28 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 11
    Reb: 23
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 25
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0