Suns try to bounce back in Game 2 versus Spurs
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns need a victory in Game 2 of their Western Conference semfinals series against the San Antonio Spurs, as the teams meet tonight at US Airways Center.
San Antonio leads this best-of-seven series 1-0. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at the AT&T Center.
On Sunday, Tim Duncan scored 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lift No. 3 San Antonio defeated second-seeded Suns, 111-106, to steal Game 1 of the set at US Airways Center.
Tony Parker ended with 32 points and eight assists, but it was his collision with Phoenix' Steve Nash that most likely determined the outcome of this game. Nash ended with 31 points and eight assists, but he missed most of the final minute of play as the bleeding from a gash on his nose couldn't be stopped.
Amare Stoudemire poured in 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the loss for the Suns, who missed the two-time reigning league MVP Nash desperately. Leandro Barbosa tallied 18 points and Shawn Marion netted 16 for Phoenix in defeat.
Nash was not able to play in key moments of the loss. With 2:53 left in the fourth quarter, Nash knocked heads with Parker. Nash suffered a gash on the bridge of his nose, while Parker stepped away with what appeared to be a small bump on his forehead.
Initially, the cut didn't slow down a bandaged Nash, but he had to leave the game as the cut on his nose continued to pour out blood. During a timeout, Nash needed to be tended to with more gauze and bandages, as players are not allowed on the floor bleeding or with blood on their uniform. He briefly went on the floor with 54 seconds on the clock, but was forced to the bench until the bleeding could be controlled. Nash made it back for the final seconds, but was a non-factor.
The Spurs, who have won four straight road contests in the postseason, have won eight of their last nine Game 2s in the playoffs, while Phoenix has lost five of its last six Game 2s.
There is a lot of playoff history between the teams, as this is the eighth time that the clubs have met in the postseason. The Suns defeated San Antonio in the first round in 1992 and 2000 and in the semis in 1993. The Spurs beat Phoenix in the opening round in 1996, 1998 and 2003 and also in the 2005 Western Conference finals.
The Suns have been eliminated in the Western Conference finals two consecutive years. Phoenix lost in five games to the Spurs in 2005, and fell in six last year to the Dallas Mavericks.
In round one, the Suns made it two straight years that they have eliminated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Phoenix earned a 4-1 series victory over the seventh-seeded Lakers. Last season, the Lakers blew a 3-1 lead in the first round against Phoenix. Los Angeles fell in seven contests and was eliminated in the opening round for the first time since 1996.
San Antonio ousted No. 6 Denver in five games. After dropping Game 1 at home, the Spurs took control of the series by winning four in a row, including Games 3 and 4 at the Pepsi Center.
The Spurs are appearing in the postseason for the 10th straight year and have won three of the last eight NBA championships. Last season, San Antonio was eliminated in the conference semis by the Mavericks in seven games.PHO SAN