The San Antonio Spurs went into Phoenix looking to stay healthy and end the season with the best record in the NBA; but those two objectives weren’t accomplished as the Spurs fell to the Suns 106 to 103 while losing one of their all stars.
The first quarter was close as the Spurs and Suns matched baskets, Phoenix held an early six to seven lead.
Then, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili ran off a Tim Duncan set-screen and got his right elbow caught between Duncan’s body and Suns’ guard Grant Hill’s arm. Ginobili fell to the ground in pain and left to the locker room. Word came out in the second quarter that Ginobili had a right hyper-extended elbow and would not return to the game. The results were negative and Ginobili was scheduled to have an MRI test done as soon as the team arrived in San Antonio.
At the end of the first quarter, the Spurs trailed the Suns 27 to 43.
After seeing one member of the “Big 3” go down with injury, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich opted to keep playing Duncan and Tony Parker. With seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, and the Spurs down by 16-points, the two players were out on the floor.
Late in the second quarter, Spurs guard Gary Neal connected on a transition three pointer to cut the Suns’ lead to single digits.
As halftime approached, the Spurs only trailed 53 to 61. The team was down 18-points at one time but held Phoenix to 18 second quarter points and poured in 28 themselves.
Tim Duncan led with 14-points and seven rebounds. Danny Green had a major impact off the bench for eight first half points.
Phoenix was able to stretch their lead back into double digits but late in the third quarter, Green made a three pointer to make it a single digit game as the Spurs trailed the Suns 70 to 79 with 2:44 remaining.
At the end of the third quarter, the Spurs trailed the Suns 74 to 85. Phoenix outscored San Antonio 24 to 21.
With two Gary Neal free throws, the Spurs came out on a seven to two run early as they got the lead down 81 to 87 with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Tim Duncan returned to the game with 8:36 remaining.
With 6:30 remaining in the game, Suns center Marcin Gortat connected on two sky hooks in a row to stretch the Suns’ lead 94 to 85.
A Neal steal and full court layup cut Phoenix’s lead 94 to 88 with 6 minutes remaining.
Danny Green had stolen the ball and converted on the other end with a teardrop to make it a three-point ball game (94 to 91) with 4:36 remaining.
Suns forward Jared Dudley made a three pointer with 3:20 left to push Phoenix’s lead to eight with 3:11 remaining.
With three minutes remaining in the game, Duncan was taken out. Parker never played in the fourth quarter.
The game went possession-to-possession and then in with 40 second left, Green missed a corner three pointer, but Matt Bonner converted the put back to cut the Suns’ lead 102 to 99.
With seven seconds remaining, two George Hill free throws cut the Suns lead 101 to 102.
After the Suns made a few more free throws, the Spurs had one more chance with 03.9 seconds remaining as they trailed 103 to 106. Gary Neal caught a right corner three and missed it, from there, the buzzer sounded and the Spurs finished the 2011 regular season as the number two overall team in the NBA at 60-22.
- Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 17-points and 12-rebounds. Marcin Gortat led the Suns with 21-points and 13-rebounds.
- The Spurs had five players score in double figures. (Duncan 17, Neal 14, Hill 13, Green 13, and Parker 12 points)
- Richard Jefferson and Matt Bonner struggled as they shot a combined 3 of 14 for 16-points.
- The Spurs shot a higher percentage (43% to 40%) than Phoenix in the game. The Spurs only turned the ball over eight times, but Phoenix countered with just six turn over’s.
- The Chicago Bulls defeated the New Jersey Nets earlier in the evening to clinch the best record in the NBA at 61-22. The Bulls now have home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs including the Finals should they make it that far.
- The Spurs will open game one of the NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday (April 17) at noon (CST) on TNT.
- Express News’ beat writer Jeff McDonald commented on how Ginobili left the arena after the game. “Manu Ginobili left the locker room at U.S. Airways Arena with his right arm in a sling. MRI tomorrow.”
now we are facing possibly the toughest road to the a ring of any team out there. memphis is no joke, most likely the thunder, and then most likely lakers, THEN most likely the bulls. that is by far the hardest path. hell half the analysts out there are already picking the griz to beat the spurs in the 1st round. pop should have let the spurs drop to the 2 seed. a path of hornets, then mavs before the lakers would have been SOOOOO MUCH BETTER!
@LFJeremy The Wednesday lay off will help, but injuries happen for no reason sometimes. Pop (the team) ll wanted to finish as the number one seed, on Saturday Duncan even said it would have been great to close it on top as they worked hard all throughout. That was very telling as Pop continued to play the guys even after Manu went down.
@JohnAbney The playoffs are the playoffs, after the game on Saturday against the Jazz RJ said "we'll take whoever comes (our way)." The team knew it was only a guessing game, they had a good chance of facing either POR, MEM or NOH. They drew MEM so they'l be ready. Thanks for commenting by the way! Very enjoyable to hear others thoughts!
@JohnAbney I like what RG says AND will state that we had no possible idea of how any of the seeding would have worked out. The whole Western Conferece practically came down to the last game of the season. This is why coaches aim to win games and be at the top, you can't control outside circumstances and / or other teams. Pop is fine, the only concern is Manu's health. If we lose to the Thunder or Lakers, I guarantee it's not because we won too many games in the regular season.
@JohnAbney i disagree. we don't have the toughest road to a ring, IMO. and i highly doubt half the analysts are picking the Grizzlies to upset the Spurs. If so, i wanna know the half that are saying that, otherwise, it's just BS to me. Grizzlies are tough, no doubt about that, but what will kill them in the end is lack of playoff experience. the Thunder are a little bigger with Perkins and Mohammed, but other than that, they're still the same team that got swept by the Spurs in the regular season (not that it really matters now). i really don't think the Thunder is ready to advance to the WCF yet, and i believe the Spurs will show them why. and i rather home court advantage against the Lakers, not the other way around. i think Pop did the right thing because our guys need to stay in shape. it's just bad timing for us to have Manu get hurt, but it's not the end of the world.