Spurs' Clutch Shooting Ends Suns Hopes, 112-110

Great battle between these two teams. Richard Jefferson was the hero for the game with his clutch threes in the fourth quarter.

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San Antonio Spurs Out Score Phoenix Suns In Classic Desert Duel, 112-110

Out of nowhere, this turned into yet another in a long line of classic Phoenix Suns - San Antonio Spurs battles.

You don't expect to get to see a game like this so early in the season, but there you have it. Two teams playing hard for 48 minutes with teams making stops and teams making shots. Great NBA basketball was played here tonight and the Spurs were able to close out the game on the strength of Richard Jefferson's clutch three-point shooting. Jefferson hit 4-of-4 three point shots in the final quarter to give the Spurs the big early season 112-110 road win.

Both Hakim Warrick and Jason Richardson played great in the second half, while Steve Nash had trouble finding the range. In fact, the Suns offense looked better at times with Nash on the bench and Dragic running the show.

It seemed that the Suns MVP was forcing the issue just a little too much in this game. He finished with 19 points on 8-22 shooting along with seven assists, six rebounds and four turnovers. The Suns got little production from starters Hedo Turkoglu or Robin Lopez in this game, which didn't help the cause.

The stats don't show it, with San Antonio shooting an incredible 54.5 percent from the field, but it was pressure defense from Phoenix that forced 23 turnovers and kept the Suns in the game at all despite a horrible shooting night (44%).

The Spurs finished the game with a 45-40 rebounding advantage in large part due to the Suns' poor shooting. The Suns beat the Spurs on the offensive glass 16-11 and fought hard the entire game, including a crucial fourth quarter stretch where effective double teams and traps gave the Suns the lead for a brief time before Jefferson shot his team to the win.

Second half game notes:

Third Quarter

  • Robin has no touch tonight. Missing shots he normally makes.
  • Jason also having a poor shooting night.
  • Spurs come out hitting shots and taking advantage of some flat Phoenix play. Up 65-56. Timeout, Suns.
  • Nash doing too much of the offensive work himself.
  • Great baseline ambush by JRich on Duncan as he spun.
  • Gentry pissed at pace Nash is working at. Walking ball up the floor isn't making him happy.
  • Hill misses a bunny in the paint. Rust?
  • Horrible call by that young ref calling a trip on Warrick when Temple just got crossed over by Nash and fell.
  • Suns offense really not doing much in this quarter so far. No way Nash can close this game strong, either, with the way he's playing so far.
  • Spurs have Manu on Nash.
  • Highlight reel between the legs save from JRich.
  • More Nash/Warrick pick and roll after the timeout.
  • Hill is still one of the smoothest players in the league with the ball in his hands.
  • Nice steal from Frye to get an easy JRich dunk.
  • Gentry's pissed at Frye for not fouling Splitter hard enough. Benches him for Siler. Lol.
  • Great poise by Dragic on an aggressive trap to find the open JRich for three.
  • This is a really good game.
  • That's the second time the Suns defense prevented a bucket at the end of the quarter. That never used to happen.
  • Spurs up 81-79. Suns were down 10 early in the quarter. Good recovery.


Fourth Quarter

  • Have I mentioned Goran enough yet? He just split a double and found an open man for a swing-swing open corner three.
  • Too bad the Suns can't get some stops. Splitter having a big impact on the game with Duncan out. He's the real deal, I'm afraid.
  • JRich taking over on the offensive end ... but just got burned by Richard Jefferson on a slipped screen / basket cut.
  • Randy Hill from Fox Sports agrees, the Suns offense looks much better with Dragic in for Nash. Making better decisions with the ball (Goran) while Steve is forcing his shot. Weird.
  • That's the kind of hustle play Childress can make! Great offensive rebound and layup.
  • Spurs making threes here late after being 1-9 going into the fourth quarter. 4-4 so far in the quarter, with three from Richard Jefferson.
  • Spurs up 103-97, 6:13. Timeout, Suns.
  • Hedo's only played about four minutes this half. Not coming in now.
  • Warrick super aggressive going to the rim tonight. Fearless. That could explain why Hedo's not played much.
  • Some great hecklers sitting right behind me screaming at the refs ... and Manu.
  • Momentum shifted to Suns! 104-103, Phx leads. 4:05. Crowd PUMPED!!
  • Another solid defensive possession on Duncan. Really mixing things up on when they are coming with help and where it's coming from.
  • Hedo not playing, but doing a great job cheering.
  • SICK alley-oop Nash to JRich. Building EXPLODES!! Timeout, Spurs. Wow.
  • Another great stop and Frye battles to get the rebound.
  • Ugh, huge three from RJ there. Spurs up 108-106. 1:33 to go.
  • Another Nash miss. That's the story of this game so far.
  • Duncan with a huge stuff on Warrick on the roll. Totally could have been a foul. On the other end, Hill gets called for pretty much the same defensive play on Jefferson. Huge.
  • 110-106, Spurs. 43 seconds. Not going to happen tonight.

Phoenix Suns Battle San Antonio Spurs To Tie Score Though 1st Half

The San Antonio Spurs made 50 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half and yet from where I was sitting (court side) it seemed like the Phoenix Suns were playing very good half court defense.  Phoenix forced, a fair word in this case, 12 San Antonio turnovers which lead to 13 Suns points. Those extra possessions are why the Suns were able to go into the half with the game tied at 50.

Offensively, the Spurs took advantage of mismatches and attacked aggressively with their big three. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker scored 35 of the Spurs 50 total points. On the other end the Suns didn't shoot the ball well (42.2 percent) but used a much more balanced attack. 8 Suns players had at least 4 points and none had more than 10. The biggest culprit of poor shooting was Steve Nash who took advantage of single coverage to get good looks but wasn't able to convert. He went 2-10 with only four total points along with 4 assists in 16 minutes.

The offensive star for Phoenix was Goran Dragic who was again electric off the bench with eight points and  four assists in just eight minutes. Dragic's vision and passing  in the pick and roll has shown tremendous improvement this season. He's holding the ball longer and delivering accurate strikes on the move along with his fearless attacks at the rim.

The Suns were plagued with foul trouble in the first half forcing Garret Siler to see his first action in place of Robin Lopez who had to leave early after picking up his third foul on a questionable call.

First Half Game Notes:

1st Qtr

  • Love watching players great each other before games
  • Parker on Nash to start game, Nash on Parker on other end. Hill on Manu w/ JRich on RJ
  • Great work by Hedo to tip ball away from Blair
  • Robin stuffed Blair w/ great, patient, Duncan-like defense
  • Love Robin's body language early. Looks focused and engaged
  • Great half court defense for Suns early. Mixing up looks on Timmy
  • Spurs scored quick in transition three times so far
  • Bad foul for Robin to pick up off the ball
  • First look at the Hedo/Robin pick and roll. Hedo got to the rim and drew a 2nd foul on Blair
  • 2nd foul on Robin protecting the rim on a Jefferson drive set up by Robin fronting Tim w/ Jason squeezing from the weak side. Spurs swung the ball to RJ who attacked Hedo who was rotating
  • Hedo/Frye pick and roll. Hedo ended up defending Timmy and did a nice job poking the ball away to ignite a fast break
  • Suns trapped Manu with the ball and did a great job rotating. Ended up causing a turnover.
  • Frye has to hedge that screen harder to prevent Tony from turning the corner on him
  • Very impressed with Suns half court defense so far
  • Splitter in for TD for the first time
  • Parker looked at Splitter with Frye on his back in the post and said, non, and took the shot himself
  • Nice aggressive move by Warrick to draw the foul on Splitter who was bodying up too close
  • Great read by Goran to find Dudley for three on a pick and roll that the Spurs defense collapsed on
  • 22-23 Spurs. Nice quarter of ball.

2nd Qtr

  • SWEET no-look pass from Goran to J-Chill on a baseline cut
  • Second unit running a full court press on Garrett Temple
  • Suns ran that possession through J Chill in the post who was backing down Manu, drew help and found a cutting Warrick
  • Goran killing it again, 6 points already
  • Manu working Childress over on the perimeter. Josh is having a real hard time with him
  • Damn, that was a fantastic pick and roll with Dragic and Warrick. Impeccable bounce pass
  • Tough call on Robin. Gentry told him it wasn't a foul as he came off the court - replaced by Siler.
  • Nash missing a ton of little shots he usually makes
  • GREAT post defense by Siler on Duncan's post move. Impressed.
  • Needless to say the Nash/Siler pick and roll spacing is a bit...awkward
  • Ok, now this is getting silly. Nash keeps shooting and keeps missing
  • Duncan and Splitter on the floor together here. Interesting.
  • That's the best roll move Hedo's made since coming to Phoenix. No question
  • And now we've seen the mythical Hedo/Siler pick and roll
  • This young ref's name is Marat Kogut and he just T'd up Gentry. That's been coming
  • Gentry put Clark in the game for a final end of clock defensive possession. It worked, Suns drew a charge
  • 50-50. Nice half of basketball despite Nash being 2-10 with 4 points.
  • Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all tearing up Suns. 13-20 for 35 of Spurs 50 points. No other Spur doing much.  
  • Suns getting balanced scoring: 8 players with at least 4 points and none with 10.
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