Manu Ginobili had been quiet for most of the playoffs, but finally regained his late-season form in Game 3 against the Suns, torching them for 24 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals. His effort, along with Tim Duncan's strongest performance of the playoffs so far (33 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocks) was too much for Phoenix, and wit the win, San Antonio has gone up 2-1 in the series, with a chance to put the Suns in dire straits Monday night with a victory.
The series has been intense up to this point, and has certainly not lacked drama. In Game 1, Steve Nash was bloodied and required six stitches in his nose following the game. Then, before this game, Suns center Amare Stoudemire accused the Spurs of being a "dirty team" and accused Bruce Bowen of deliberately trying to hurt him on a foul. In this game, Ginobili got mixed up with Shawn Marion and Raja Bell, and ended up with a puffy eye. And this was only the third game. One thing is clear, San Antonio seems much better suited to this style of physical play than Phoenix.
Steve Nash, who has been the most dangerous Suns' player, was held to 16 points in the game, and was scoreless in the first half. He did have 11 assists in the game. Another of Phoenix's key weapons, Stoudemire, was in foul trouble throughout the game and spent large patches of time on the bench. Still, Phoenix was within six points with just under two minutes left in the game. However, Tim Duncan, scoring 13 points in the final quarter, almost single-handedly iced the game for the Spurs.
Bruce Bowen seemed to take the comments from Stoudemire in stride, as well, scoring 10 points, with 9 rebounds, and 4 steals. He only had 2 fouls. Likewise, Tony Parker had an efficient game, scoring 16 points, with 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
San Antonio has taken control of this series, and now that they have gained the home court advantage by winning one in Phoenix, a win Monday would put the Suns in a deep hole, down 3-1. As long as San Antonio continues playing the kind of hard-nosed, blue-collar defense that defines this team, Phoenix will continue to struggle. Game 4 Monday night should be an intense battle.