Suns Setting On Phoenix

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, May 28 - Tim Duncan and Tony Parker flashed their brilliance as San Antonio pushed Phoenix to the brink of elimination with a 102-92 win over the Suns here on Saturday.
Duncan had 33 points and 15 rebounds and Parker chipped in 18 for second-seeded San Antonio, which battered the run-and-gun Suns and opened a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead in the National Basketball Association semi-final series.
We dont want to play this type of game (fast break) so our focus was on just taking good possessions,'' Duncan said. After bolting to 38 points in the first quarter, the Spurs hunkered down on defence for the first time in the series and made it no fun for the Suns, who were held to their lowest half of the season and could not recover. Coming into the series we wanted to keep them down below 100 points and tonight we did that,’’ Duncan said. We want to end this thing out in the next game. These guys are a dangerous squad.'' To the casual observer it might not appear that way. The NBA's best team in the regular season, the Suns lost the first two games at home as their lax defence was exposed in the fourth quarter of both games. Claiming they simply needed a break or two, they got one in the form of versatile swingman Joe Johnson, who had missed the last six games with a fractured bone in his face but returned wearing a protective mask. Johnson scored 15 points, but his return was not enough to overcome the excellence of the Spurs, who again shut down Shawn Marion and made life difficult for NBA MVP Steve Nash. We had a good team performance,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. We did a better job defensively and that allowed us to be in a position to win the game.'' Having sped to a 38-29 lead after one period, San Antonio held Phoenix to 10 points on five-of-21 shooting in the second quarter, building a 56-39 bulge. It was the lowest-scoring half of the season for the Suns, who fell behind by 20 points early in the fourth quarter before making a charge behind Amare Stoudemire, who had 34 points and 11 rebounds. We get into a macho kind of thing where it is like I got to show you,’’ Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. We would grab a rebound and then we don't run.'' Said Suns Quentin Richardson, We didn’t give the effort we needed and I am disappointed.’’
Duncan offset Stoudemire with 10 points in the last five minutes, including six from the foul line, where he was an astonishing 15-of-15.
Parker, of France, used his quickness on both ends on the floor to again play Canada’s Nash to a virtual stalemate. Nash scored 20 points but had just three assists while committing six turnovers.
Manu Ginobili had 18 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which outshot Phoenix, made 26-of-30 free throws and held a 49-35 advantage on the glass.
Playing at home for the first time in 11 days, the Spurs may not be going anywhere for a while.
If they can complete the sweep Monday, they will await the winner of the Miami-Detroit series in the NBA Finals, which would start here.