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.”