Friday , Feb , 02 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

All-Star Stoudemire leads Phoenix past Spurs

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Amare Stoudemire backed up the reasoning for
his inclusion into this year’s NBA All-Star game with a 24-point, career-high
23-rebound performance, as the Suns used a blitz late in the fourth quarter to
pull away for a 103-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

In a game between two of the top three teams in the Western Conference, it was
the Suns who got the best of Tim Duncan and Co. to win their 10th straight at
home and 18th in their last 19 overall.

“We had to come out defensively against those guys; they are a top team in the
west,” Stoudemire said. “We wanted to hold them to limited points.”

Leandro Barbosa had 25 points in a reserve role to lead the Suns, who bounced
back from a 121-112 loss to Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves at
the Target Center on Monday.

Two-time league MVP Steve Nash, also named as a reserve for the All-Star game
earlier Thursday, ended with 13 points and 11 assists. Shawn Marion, another
All-Star reserve for the Western Conference, had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Manu Ginobili tallied 32 points and Tony Parker, also named an All-Star
Thursday, scored 20 for San Antonio. Duncan ended with 20 points and 18 boards
for the Spurs, who suffered their second consecutive defeat.

“We had a really tough game against a difficult team, and today we played a
team that runs faster than anyone in the league,” Ginobili said. “It’s had to
keep up with them, but I don’t believe we lost because of being tired.”

A Parker jumper brought the Spurs within 85-84 with nearly 5 1/2 minutes
remaining, but the bottom then fell out for Gregg Popovich’s team. Boris Diaw
hit a reverse layup and added two free throws before Marion sank a running
jumper for a 91-84 contest with 3:09 left.

After a Duncan layup, it only got worse for the Spurs. Stoudemire had a pair
of thunderous jams in the final minute to seal Phoenix’s victory, moving the
team to 20-3 at home this season.

Diaw ended with 16 points for the Suns, who have not lost consecutive games
since dropping four in a row, November 3-9.

The Spurs scored the game’s first nine points and led 18-7 after a Duncan
layup. Despite making just one of its first 11 shots, Phoenix charged back
and trailed 22-16 going into the second quarter.

A three-pointer by James Jones gave Phoenix its first lead of the night at
31-29, but the Suns trailed 53-50 at the half.

Marion capped a big surge for the Suns to start the third, as they grabbed a
65-56 lead midway through the period. The Spurs came right back with eight
consecutive points, but still trailed 72-70 going into the fourth.

Game Notes

San Antonio had won three straight meetings…Phoenix outrebounded the Spurs,
51-41…The Spurs shot 38.6 percent from the field…The Suns beat the Spurs
for only the third time in the last 13 regular season meetings…The Spurs
fell to 1-2 on their annual rodeo road trip, which covers eight contests this
year, lasting until February 24…Nash has 10 straight double-doubles.