NBA Basketball News

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spurs Beat Suns

A town pumped on rage seemed to inspire a team fueled on passion. While Phoenix fumed, the Suns sizzled.

But ultimately, the San Antonio Spurs rode out the waves of emotions generated by the one-game suspensions of the Suns' Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. They doggedly chased down the Suns late in the fourth quarter and hung on for an 88-85 victory Wednesday night at US Airways Center in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

The victory gives San Antonio a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 scheduled for Friday night in San Antonio.

"We probably didn't have enough juice to get over the hump," said Phoenix Coach Mike D'Antoni. "This was about trying to gut it out."

San Antonio was led by Manu Ginobili, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Tim Duncan, with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Shawn Marion had a team-high 24 points and 17 rebounds for Phoenix. Steve Nash had 19 points and 12 assists, but hit only 6 of 19 from the floor.

Stoudemire and Diaw were suspended for leaving the bench after San Antonio's Robert Horry slammed Nash into the scorer's table near the end of Game 4. Horry was given a two-game suspension.

The loss of Stoudemire and Diaw caused outrage in Phoenix.

"It feels strange," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. "It doesn't feel like a normal Game 5."

Anyone spending the day in Phoenix could feel it.

It was reflected in the headline on the editorial page of Wednesday's Arizona Republic: "NBA to Suns: Drop Dead."

It could be seen in the street vendors' T-shirts that read "Free Amare" and directed insults at Stu Jackson, the NBA official who handed down the ruling on Stoudemire and Diaw.

It could be heard in the pregame news conference when D'Antoni said of his team: "Instead of being upset, I'm kind of proud. They know what's right and wrong."

In a charged atmosphere in front of a sellout crowd, the Suns, after falling behind 9-4, caught fire, going on a 20-2 run, including 16 straight points.

"Everybody was so excited, so pumped up," Ginobili said. "There's so much passion. It was hard for us not to get fired up in that atmosphere."

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