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:
- 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.
- 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.