"We can't be satisfied in just winning game 1...U know the Spurs will be ready but so will we," he tweeted.
Although it took most of the first half for the Suns to get up to speed and fulfill Dudley's prediction, Phoenix managed to bounce back from an early deficit to beat the Spurs 110-102 on Wednesday evening, thanks to a combination of tough play, rebounding heroics, and some fierce determination.
With Tim Duncan leading the way with an 11-point first quarter, San Antonio shot out to a nine-point advantage during the opening period and held the Suns to just 32 percent shooting. But the Suns weren't going to crumble like they've done so often in the past against the Men in Black. On a night when Phoenix players wore their "Los Suns" jerseys in opposition of Arizona's controversial 1070 law, the Purple and Orange Gang also made another statement of defiance: They weren't gonna be the Spurs bitches this time around.
Phoenix's bench players entered the game, and Dudley in particular began stepping up and prevented the scoring gap from increasing, banging the boards and upping his scoring. Jared's efforts helped fire up his teammates to bounce back from the second quarter onward and knotted the game at 51-51 by halftime. Steve Nash, for instance, only produced six points in the first half and didn't seem to come alive until the fourth period.
"I thought [Jared] was the player of the game," Nash told reporters after the contest. "He gave us energy, confidence and changed the game."
Even San Antonio head Coach Gregg Popovich gave Dudley his props.
"[He] changed the whole game," Popovich told the press. "He came in and he was a monster."
In addition to his 11 points, the 24-year-old swingman proved particularly monstrous on the glass. At one point in the game, Dudley grabbed the ball after a missed shot only to sink it with a fadeaway jumper where he was fouled, and then proceeded to wrangle up another board after whiffing a shot from the charity stripe. The rest of the bench also came through in a big way, including Channing Frye, who nailed five three-point bombs during the evening and Lou Amundson who grabbed four rebounds.
In the end, it was mainly Phoenix's defensef. Grant Hill and Jason Richardson worked to contain Manu Ginobili and strangle his offensive power, limiting the nose-bandaged Spurs shooting guard to 2-for-8 shooting for only 11 points. The lead switched up a number of times during the second half as San Antonio was shooting 52 percent, but said solid defense allowed the Suns to stay within a few points.
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Goran Dragic and the other members of the second unit managed to tie the score 80-80 before Nash and Jason Richardson (19 points each in the end) returned to the floor to stage a 23-12 run to grab the lead permanently.
"It was about as gritty a win as we've had since I've been around here," stated Coach Alvin Gentry.
The Suns will need to keep up the gritty play as they head deep into the heart of Texas for Game Three on Friday night. A raucous crowd of more than 18,000 Spurs fans will jam into the AT&T Center to cheer on San Antonio as they attempt a comeback of their own. By the way, the last time the Silver and Black found themselves down 0-2 to Phoenix in the playoffs was 1993, the same season that Sir Charles led Planet Orange all the way to the NBA Finals.
We've got fingers crossed that this year will result in a similar trip. Tip-off for game three is 6:30 p.m. TV: ESPN. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.suns.com.