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San Antonio comes back from 17-point deficit

PHOENIX (AP) -- Manu Ginobili's career night ruined Steve Nash's
return to the Phoenix Suns' lineup.

Ginobili scored 48 points and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from
a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to hand the Suns their sixth
consecutive loss, 128-123 in overtime, on Friday night.

"He was remarkable," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
"He's such a competitor."

Tim Duncan had 30 points and 19 rebounds for the Spurs, who
became the first team to beat Phoenix twice this season.

Nash had 16 points and 13 assists in 46 minutes after missing
the last 3½ games with injuries.

Shawn Marion scored 37 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the
Suns. His 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer that sent the game
into overtime. Amare Stoudemire, coming off a season-low
eight-point game on Wednesday, scored 35 in an intense matchup
befitting the teams with the two best records in the NBA.

"I think they're tired and dejected right now," Suns coach
Mike D'Antoni said of his players, "but in the back of their mind,
they know `Hey, we're pretty good."

Brent Barry sank clutch 3-pointers late in regulation and early
in overtime and scored 16 for San Antonio. Ginobili, whose previous
career best was 33, made 16-of-22 shots, 5-of-7 3-pointers, and 11
of 12 free throws. His 3-pointer with 56.7 seconds left in overtime
sealed the victory.

"What can I say? This was a game that I probably would never
expect to have," Ginobili said. "I'm not the first option on this
team. I came in really strong, making shots, so my confidence was
built up already. Then I started making tough shots. I was feeling
it and they were all falling."

With Nash out, the Suns' energized game had also left. But
Phoenix was back in high-gear for this one.

"Getting Steve back was a huge boost for us, and we played
well," Quentin Richardson said, "but we just showed our youth
tonight. They're a veteran team, and they've won two
championships."

The victory kept the Spurs (33-9) ahead of the Suns (32-10) for
the league's best mark.

Down 88-71 after three quarters, San Antonio came back behind
Ginobili and took a 109-108 lead on Barry's 3-pointer from the top
of the key with 16.9 seconds left in regulation. After Nash missed
a jumper, Duncan was fouled and made two free throws to put the
Spurs up 111-108 with 7.3 seconds to go.

But Marion leaned into a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie it at
111 and send the game into overtime.

Ginobili's free throw on a defensive three-second call started a
7-0 San Antonio surge in overtime. Ginobili's driving stuff,
Duncan's dunk and another Duncan basket made it 123-115 with 1:55
left.

Marion scored 14 consecutive points, igniting a 23-6 run over
the final six minutes of the third quarter to put the Suns up 88-71
entering the fourth. Nash capped the outburst with a 13-footer with
9.8 seconds left.

But San Antonio outscored Phoenix 19-6 to start the fourth
quarter, cutting the lead to 94-90 on Ginobili's fast-break basket
with 7:15 left.

The Suns responded again.

Joe Johnson sank a 3-pointer and Marion stuffed it on a
breakaway after a San Antonio turnover to boost the lead to 99-90
with 5:51 left in the fourth.<

^Notes:@ Phoenix had only nine players in uniform after a trade
earlier in the day that sent reserves Casey Jacobsen, Maciej Lampe
and Jackson Vroman to the New Orleans Hornets for Jim Jackson. ...
Jackson is expected to be in uniform for the Suns' game against New
Jersey on Sunday. ... The Spurs snapped Phoenix's 11-game winning
streak with a 115-94 victory in San Antonio on Dec. 28. ... The
Suns shot 14-for-20 (70 percent) in the third quarter. ... Spurs
center Rasho Nesterovic went down with a sprained left ankle with
9:20 left in the second quarter and did not return.