Final

San Antonio wins series 4-1 (Game 3 of 5)

San Antonio wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Suns115Final
2OT
Spurs117
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Suns96Final
Spurs102
Game 3: Friday, April 25th
Spurs115Final
Suns99
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Spurs86Final
Suns105
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Suns87Final
Spurs92

Spurs 115

(56-26, 22-19 away)

Suns 99

(55-27, 30-11 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    7:30 PM ET, April 25, 2008

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 33 28 30 24115
    PHX 19 28 25 2799

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: T. Parker 41 Pts, 5 Reb, 12 Ast, 2 Stl

    Phoenix: A. Stoudemire 28 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pesky Parker scores career-high 41 to push Suns into 0-3 hole

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix took away Tony Parker's easy layups just like it wanted to. So he just made jump shot after jump shot after jump shot.

    Setting Suns?

    During the regular season, Phoenix won 55 games and never lost three straight. But with Friday's loss, the Suns became one of five teams in the last 10 years to fall into a three-game skid after having avoided such a stretch during the regular season:

    Season Team Skid
    2008 Suns 3
    2006 Pistons 3
    2006 Spurs 3
    1999 Blazers 4
    1999 Jazz 3

    The smooth San Antonio point guard burned the Suns for a career-high 41 points along with 12 assists and the Spurs rolled to a 115-99 victory Friday night to take a 3-0 series lead.

    This was supposed to be a spectacular first-round matchup of potential NBA champions. Instead, it's been a Spurs smackdown, with Parker leading the way.

    "They were backing off on the pick-and-rolls," he said, "so I just took the shot, and it felt good tonight."

    Everything felt good for the defending NBA champions, who never trailed in winning their ninth consecutive playoff game and 13th of 14, dating to last season.

    "We possibly played our best game of the year," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

    San Antonio can complete the sweep on Sunday in Phoenix. No NBA team has come back from 0-3 to win a series.

    It's the first three-game losing streak for the Suns this season.

    "They were almost perfect," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We didn't play well, and I'll take the blame for that, but you've got to give them a lot of credit. They played great."

    Phoenix acquired Shaquille O'Neal to better match up with the Spurs, but the Suns are one loss away from being swept in a seven-game series for the first time since the Los Angeles Lakers did it in the 1988-89 Western Conference finals.

    Tim Duncan added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Manu Ginobili scored 20 points in the Spurs' fourth consecutive playoff road victory and ninth in their last 11.

    But Parker did the most damage, often on the pick-and-roll that has flustered Phoenix all series. With three different defenders trying to stop him, he finished 17-of-26 from the field.

    The ultra-quick Frenchman scored 26 points in Game 1 and 32 in Game 2.

    "Tony has been very aggressive and just done a great job at both ends of the floor," Popovich said. "He's just been phenomenal. I don't know what else to say about him."

    The Suns cut the lead to 13 points twice in the fourth quarter, the last on Raja Bell's 3-pointer with 7:35 to play, but Parker countered with his first 3 of the game and the Suns were finished.

    "We just played great. Sometimes that happens," Parker said. "It just clicked tonight. We played great on defense and everybody made shots."

    The packed house in the Suns' first home game of the playoffs booed Popovich's "Hack-a-Shaq" tactics in the first half, but they turned on the home team when the Spurs took a 23-point lead on Ginobili's 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

    Amare Stoudemire had 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead Phoenix, which was last swept in a series when Portland did it in a best-of-five matchup in 1998-99. Leandro Barbosa scored 20 points and O'Neal, who finished 9-for-17 from the free throw line, had 19. Steve Nash, defended ferociously by Bruce Bowen, had seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with nine assists.

    Phoenix took big early leads in the first two games in San Antonio. The Spurs were in control of this one from the start.

    San Antonio made 10 of its first 13 shots, including five of six jumpers by Parker. A 17-4 outburst capped by Parker's 22-footer put the Spurs up 27-12.

    Popovich went to the "Hack-a-Shaq" ploy, having Jacque Vaughn foul the big guy three straight times late in the first. O'Neal was called for crossing the free throw line on his first two tries, missed his next two, then made one of two.

    Kurt Thomas, a surprise starter, converted a three-point play with .3 seconds left in the first quarter to put San Antonio up 33-19.

    Barbosa scored 10 quick points as Phoenix cut the lead to 37-31 with 8:05 left in the half, but the Spurs scored the next seven points.

    Popovich returned to purposely fouling O'Neal late in the second quarter after Brent Barry's 3-pointer put San Antonio ahead 57-43 with 58 seconds left in the half.

    O'Neal made three of four free throws, but Parker's driving layup at the buzzer put the Spurs up 61-47.

    Parker scored the first five points of the second half, including a three-point play that made it 66-47. Consecutive outside jumpers by Duncan put the Spurs up 70-50, and the boos began.

    Game notes


    Columnists at both local newspapers said in Friday's editions that D'Antoni's job could be in jeopardy if the team flops in the first round. ... The Suns' Grant Hill, nursing a sore groin, didn't start but played 20 minutes. ... Thomas, in his third start of the season, second for San Antonio, scored nine points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SA
    PHX
    Points 115 99
    FGM-FGA 46-82 (.561) 40-81 (.494)
    3PM-3PA 6-15 (.400) 2-6 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 17-19 (.895) 17-29 (.586)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-37 9-36
    Assists 21 20
    Turnovers 11 9
    Steals 6 3
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 2 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 17 (0/1)
    Largest Lead 23 0

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Phoenix
    Tony Parker Parker
    Points: 41
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
    Points: 28
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1