Turnabout is fair play. The Phoenix Suns had risen to the occasion, playing without their two best bigs, Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, both serving a one game suspension for leaving the bench during the Horry/Nash episode at the end of Game 4, and had led San Antonio for most of the game. That is, until Bruce Bowen hit a three with 36 seconds left in the game to break the tie, and the hearts of the Suns.
In what was in many ways a mirror image of Game 4, in which the Spurs lead for most of the game, only to see it slip away at the very end, San Antonio found itself unable to match the Suns' energy and passion for most of the game, but managed to claw their way back into contention in the last few minutes, led in large part by Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili had been having a sub-par game, but turned it on in the last quarter, scoring 15 of his 26 points, knocking down all of his free throws, and hitting three three-pointers in a row. He also added 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals. He led the team in scoring. Tim Duncan, battling double-teams all night, had an efficient game scoring 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Michael Finley added 13 points, and Tony Parker had 11.
San Antonio had been shooting horribly from long-range for most of the game, going 3-17 throughout most of the game, and were down as many as 16 points in the second quarter. They managed to trim the lead down to 8 points with a little more that 5 minutes left. Then, as happened to San Antonio in the previous game, the Suns went cold from the floor, Ginobili and the Spurs heated up, and were able to steal a game on the road, reclaim home-court advantage, and now sit within one game of moving on to the finals.
For a while, it looked like the suspensions didn't affect the Suns, as Shawn Marion poured in 20 points in the first half, and pulled down every rebound that came near him. Unfortunately for him and Phoenix, he only managed 4 points in the second half. He had 11 points and 7 rebounds in the first quarter alone. San Antonio only managed 13 points in the opening quarter.
The Spurs now find themselves firmly in control of the series, needed only to win one of the next two games to close out the Suns and advance to the conference finals against Utah. The action returns to San Antonio this Friday, and without a doubt, the arena will be electric.