The Phoenix Suns beat the San Antonio Spurs to close out their season on Fan Appreciation Night, 106-103, but in true 2010 Suns fashion, almost blew the game.
Los Suns unleashed a 43-27 shellacking on the San Antonio Spurs in the first quarter last night, and not just on the scoreboard. Grant Hill knocked Manu Ginobli out of the game -- and possibly the playoffs -- three minutes into the contest, when Hill tripped onto a sliding Ginobli's elbow. Ginobli will take an MRI tomorrow morning.
But no lead is safe with the Phoenix Suns' defense, and the Spurs came roaring back to make a game out of it.
San Antonio shut Planet Orange down in the second, 26-18, for a 61-53 Suns lead at the half. The first two quarters came down to threes, as the Suns out-three'd the Spurs 43-63% despite being outshot, in general, 45%-43%. Spurs sharpshooter Matt Bonner was off all night, missing just about every shot he took in the second half. At times he looked downright amateurish, proving even the best three-point shooter in the league can have an off game.
For Phoenix, the first was their highest-scoring quarter of the year.
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The Suns regained some mediocrity in the third, holding the Spurs to 21 while scoring 24, but couldn't apply any pressure on in the fourth. San Antonio scored 29 points to Phoenix' 21 in the fourth, and probably would have won the game had they been given an extra minute of play.
The last minute of the 106-103 victory took forever, as the Suns tried to hold onto the ball and prevent the Spurs from taking shots. Twice, the Suns inbounded to Aaron Brooks, who ran as hard as he could to escape being fouled but couldn't get away from Spurs defenders.
Brooks had a terrible game for the Suns, managing to miss every single shot he took from the field, but he came up big at the end of the game on field throws to snuff out the Spurs' chance to take a lead. Each time the Spurs fouled him in the last thirty seconds of play he sunk his free throws, maintaining the Suns' three point lead and forcing the Spurs to take longshots.
That wraps up the Suns' sub-.500 season, as Steve Nash and Co. go home to wonder where their glory years have gone. Coach Alvin Gentry and General Manager Lance Blanks will try to answer that question this summer and maybe the Suns will be a contender again next year. Good luck to them.