The Phoenix Suns were again without newest additions Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus, and though it didn't stop them from picking up the win last night in Oklahoma City, Phoenix's sheer grit and determination wasn't enough to stop the San Antonio Spurs, who have now won nine in a row.
In the 118-110 loss, Jared Dudley led the way for Phoenix, scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Center Robin Lopez had another outstanding shooting night, going 5-for-5 for 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds in only 24 minutes. Josh Childress had a solid contribution for the second night in a row, as well. He finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Spurs were carried by Tim Duncan's usually efficient play. He finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals in 31 minutes of play. Helping to carry the load were rookie guard Gary Neal (22 points) and Tony Parker (19 points, four assists).
Phoenix was on the second night of a road back-to-back against the hottest team in the league, so the loss is not a shocker. They did, however, stay close for the most part, overcoming a lackadaisical and mistake-ridden third quarter to close the gap to within eight in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, giving up the ball and second-chance opportunities allowed San Antonio to seal the game. The Spurs scored 27 points off of 15 Suns turnovers, in addition to 23 second-chance points.
The Suns return home to face the Miami Heat on Thursday night. The team will have three days off to integrate their new trade acquisitions before continuing their tough December schedule.