Spurs fall to rival Suns 112-101

By BOB BAUM

AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX (AP) Amare Stoudemire scored
29 points and Phoenix dominated San Antonio most of Wednesday night in
a 112-101 victory that snapped the Spurs’ four-game winning streak and
kept the Suns tied for second in the Western Conference with four games
to play.

Jason Richardson scored 20 and Steve
Nash had 16 points and 12 assists in Phoenix’s 11th victory in 12
games. Neither played in the fourth quarter, when Goran Dragic was at
the controls while the Suns fought off a rally to pull away and lead by
as many as 17.

Roger Mason led six Spurs in double figures with 18 points. Richard Jefferson added 17.

Manu Ginobili, who had averaged 22.5
points since the All-Star break, scored 10 on 5-of-14 shooting, 0 of 5
on 3-pointers. Tim Duncan had 14 points and seven rebounds for the
Spurs, who fell into a three-way tie for the West’s final three playoff
spots.

Phoenix, which hadn’t played since
Sunday, took the lead for good with an 11-2 run to close the first half
and was up 61-52 at the break.

The Spurs fell to 7-9 when playing the second of consecutive nights.

Tony Parker, in his second game back
from a 16-game absence with a broken right ring finger, had 10 points
on 5-of-10 shooting with five assists.

Richardson, who scored 13 in the
quarter, dunked after a slick pass from Nash to put Suns up 88-74 with
1:44 to play in the third period. But the Spurs scored the last six of
the quarter, capped by Matt Bonner’s 9-foot hook shot from the baseline
at the buzzer that made it 88-80 entering the fourth.

After Channing Frye’s jumper for the
Suns, Mason sank a 3-pointer and Parker a 22-footer from the baseline
to slice the lead to 90-85 with 10:27 to play, and Phoenix coach Alvin
Gentry called a timeout.

The Suns ran away with it after that.

Phoenix scored the next five, Jared
Dudley with a 3-pointer and Lou Amundson with an inside hoop, and it
was 95-85 8:38 from the end.

The run reached 14-5 when Dragic
made two free throws that put Phoenix ahead 104-90 with 5:12 to play.
Dragic had just scored on a fast-break layup after Grant Hill stole a
pass from Jefferson. Dragic scored seven straight points and had
consecutive steals as the Suns turned it into a 109-92 blowout with
3:58 to play. He knocked DeJuan Blair’s pass away to Hill for a
breakaway dunk to cap the surge.

Phoenix is tied with Denver and Dallas at 51-27. The Spurs are even with Portland and Oklahoma City at 48-30.

At one point in the first half, the
Spurs were 4 of 13 from the foul line. They were 7 of 18 at the break,
then 10 of 10 in the second half.

NOTES: Duncan left the game with
2:31 left in the first half after taking an elbow to the forehead from
Ginobili but was back moments later. … Suns C Robin Lopez says there
is no timetable for his return from a back injury. He says the bulging
disk is to be re-evaluated by doctors next week. … Asked before the
game how Parker has looked, coach Gregg Popovich said, “He’s still
cute. ”

Updated April 8, 2010