Tim and Tony Torch the Suns
Written by Randy Watson
San Antonio drew first blood in their second round match-up against the Phoenix Suns; literally. With just under 3:00 left in a tight game, Tony Parker and Steve Nash collided violently, with Nash receiving the most damage. With his nose requiring six stitches after the game, the Suns top player was relegated to the sidelines for much of the last few minutes, and the Spurs took advantage. In a game that both teams likened to a boxing match, San Antonio was the last team standing at the end, holding on for a 111-106 victory.
The Spurs were led by outstanding efforts by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, who had 33 and 32 points, respectively. Duncan also corralled 16 rebounds and had three blocks, while Parker added 8 assists. Michael Finley, who was the undisputed star of Game 5 against the Nuggets, also added 19 points. Still, San Antonio had their hands full.
The whole contest was a supercharged event, and emotions were high. So high, in fact, that a technical foul was called on Phoenix’s bench during halftime. The Spurs’ Finley led off the second half shooting free throws for the technical foul. That gave San Antonio a boost that they used to go on a 16-5 run to start the half.
Shawn Marion, Phoenix’s athletic swingman, had been in a slump coming into the game, but broke out of his funk by scoring 7 points in 82 seconds to start the 4th quarter, and give Phoenix the lead. For the remainder of the period, there were three ties, and seven lead changes.
Of all the Spurs, perhaps it is Tony Parker who raises his game to the highest degree against the rival Suns. Parker makes no bones about the fact that he loves to play against Phoenix, and during the season, averaged 28 points against them. His performance in this game was one point shy of matching his career playoff high.
With this win, the Spurs have gained home-court advantage, and sent a message to Phoenix. It’s no secret that San Antonio prefers a game in the 80s or 90s, but they played the Suns’ fast-paced game, and came out ahead, showing that they aren’t a one dimensional team, and that they can score with anyone.