1Q The Spurs obviously came to play ball tonight, immediately taking the lead, and never giving it up. San Antonio's defense started strong, and Tony Parker's hard work on his jump shot the last few years was obvious, as he repeatedly drained J's throughout the first quarter, finishing it with 13 points on 75% shooting, to go with 6 assists, thus setting the tone for the night.
2Q Barbosa finally showed up to play in the second, quickly getting 10 points on the board. Diaw also learned his lesson from their trip to San Antonio, and utilized his size in the post, hitting several turnarounds down low. Kurt Thomas would pick up a technical in this period, just moments before Diaw got into fould trouble and headed for the bench.
3Q Coming out of the half, the Spurs easily got to a 20 point lead. At this point, the Suns started getting desperate. Trying to make something happen, they forced bad passes, took ill advised shots, and this only led to more desperation.
4Q It's been said the first to 100 wins, and the Spurs did this with 7 minutes to spare. By this point, the Suns had seemingly given up on defense, and their desperation had turned to frustration, as evidenced by Shaq's hard foul on Duncan, although, admittedly, in prior years he wouldn't have been called for that.
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Review With a dominating 115-99 win in Phoenix, the Spurs have it easy now. Phoenix will need to win every game the rest of the way, which is virtually impossible against these Spurs. Parker came out strong, the big men came out strong, Ginobili and Duncan did their thing, and the Suns had no answer for any of it all night. In the first 2 games, the Spurs bench, minus Ginobili, put up 10-11 points. In this game, they put up 11 points in the first half. They didn't do anything in the second half, offensively, but the damage had been done, as San Antonio merely needed to maintain the lead, which they did easily. The Spurs will once again be referred to as 'boring' by the collective populace of NBA fans, as this game really wasn't that exciting. When a team comes out and dominates every aspect of the game so thoroughly, it doesn't matter who it is playing, the game will seem boring, because it is so one sided.
Closing It Out The question remains, will the Spurs come out with the same sense of urgency in game 4? It would serve them well to sweep the Suns, and rest their bodies before their next opponent. I think that they could still play the passing lanes a little bit better, and the bench needs to contribute in both halves of the game. There WILL come a point at which one of the big three will have an off night, and the bench will need to step up.
Parker: 41 pts, 12 assists, 5 boards Duncan: 23 pts, 10 boards Ginobili: 20 pts, 5 boards, 4-7 3 pointers
Stoudemire: 28 pts, 11 boards Shaq: 19 pts, 6 boards Barbosa: 20 pts, 4 boards
Note to Steven A. Smith
The 'Hack-A-Shaq' is part of the package you get with the 'Big Cactus.' Have you ever seen a cactus on a fast break? The Suns aren't the same team they were with Marion, we knew the change was coming when the trade was made. You don't have to continue to tell us now.
"The Suns were the only team not to lose 3 in a row all season." Those were the words heard repeatedly tonight, unfortunately for Phoenix, this isn't the regular season. With Parker setting a career high, and the rest of the team doing what they do, Phoenix never had a chance.