Spurs 92, Suns 85
Friday, April 6th 2007, 7:03 am
News On 6
SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ The Suns had problems doing what they do best, and the Spurs took another step closer to Phoenix in the race for second place in the West.
The Suns shot a season-low 38.6 percent from the floor and scored their second-lowest point total of the season in a 92-85 loss to San Antonio on Thursday night.
``The good thing is we played good defense,'' Phoenix's Raja Bell said. ``The bad thing is we didn't play good offense. They took advantage of that.''
The Suns lead the league in points per game, averaging more than 110, but the Spurs slowed down their fast-break game.
``I think we have to shoot better. Just score the ball. That's what it boils down to,'' said Suns All-Star Amare Stoudemire, who scored 15 points. ``It's probably the worst shooting night we've had all season. It's just us not knocking down shots. We'll get it next time.''
In the only other NBA game, Miami beat Cleveland 94-90 in overtime.
In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored a season-high 35 points to bring the Spurs within two games of Phoenix for second place in the West.
``Unbelievable. He was great,'' said Tim Duncan, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. ``He had a great pace to his game all night. We really needed that push and he really gave it to us.''
The Suns were 2-of-11 from 3-poinr range, tying a season low in 3s made. They also tied their season low in field goals made with 32, and their 14 assists were a season low.
``Give them credit,'' Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``We got out of our comfort level. We just never seem to find our rhythm.''
Steve Nash led the Suns with 20 points, while Phoenix's four other starters all scored below their averages.
The Spurs have won seven straight home games against the Suns.
``We have to stand strong at the end of the season. We have seven games left,'' Stoudemire said. ``We have to step it up a notch.''
The Spurs stayed comfortably ahead in the fourth until Nash's 3 from the corner, which followed Shawn Marion's easy dunk, brought Phoenix within eight points with 2:48 left.
Stoudemire followed with a jumper to make it 85-79 with just over two minutes remaining.
Marion, who had nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, scored again to make it 85-81.
But Parker tied his season high with a free throw, then Nash's pass to Stoudemire went out of bounds on the next possession. Parker's jumper gave the Spurs an 88-81 lead with 31.8 seconds left.
Boris Diaw made it 90-85 with 11.2 seconds left, but that was as close as Phoenix got.
Michael Finley added 19 points and 10 boards, and Francisco Elson had 10 rebounds for San Antonio.
Unable to run, Phoenix had for just six fast-break points in the first half and led 37-36 at the break.
``We did not get in transition like we wanted to, but that's rare for us,'' Bell said.
After Parker completed a 3-point play, he stole the ball from Nash and passed to Finley for a 3 that gave the Spurs a 60-50 lead with 4:46 left in the third period.
Heat 94, Cavaliers 90, OT
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Antoine Walker and Shaquille O'Neal scored 20 points apiece and Miami clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs Thursday night.
The Cavaliers dropped three places in the postseason seedings.
With Dwyane Wade watching from the bench in street clothes but nearing a return from his dislocated shoulder, the first-place Heat, who not long ago teetered on missing the playoffs because of injuries, moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division.
Walker made six 3-pointers and Alonzo Mourning had a big block in the final minute of overtime. Jason Williams stole a pass by LeBron James with 27 seconds left and made three free throws in the last 24 for Miami.
James scored 35 with nine rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers, who fell from second place to fifth in the Eastern Conference.