8:00 PM CT TV:KENS, ESPN (KVBO Austin)
Phoenix (31 - 28)
San Antonio (41 - 16)
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- While most seem to wonder when Tim Duncan will call it a career and wait for his Hall of Fame induction, he continues to be a key part of the aging San Antonio Spurs' unexpected success.
The Phoenix Suns know all too well that he's still capable of putting up big numbers.
San Antonio seeks its sixth straight home victory over Phoenix when the teams meet Saturday night.
Following losses to Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday and Wednesday, Duncan tied his season high with 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds Thursday to lead the Spurs (41-16) to a 107-97 home win over Memphis.
After coach Gregg Popovich rested the 35-year-old Duncan, 34-year-old Manu Ginobili and 11th-year veteran Tony Parker on Monday, and Ginobili and Parker combined to shoot 5 for 20 in Wednesday's loss, Duncan stepped up Thursday.
"We got back on track. That was the key to the whole thing, getting back on track," Duncan said. "Played awful against the Lakers. Got blown out, came back in there (Thursday) against another good team. A much better effort."
The Spurs are one game behind Oklahoma City for the Western Conference's top seed but are tied in the loss column with two games in hand after Duncan's heroics.
The veteran has played similarly well in each meeting with Phoenix this season for the Spurs, who have won 17 of the last 21 regular-season meetings. Duncan had 24 points and 11 rebounds Jan. 15 in San Antonio's 102-91 home victory over the Suns, and 26 points with 11 boards March 27 in Phoenix. The Spurs won that contest 107-100, overcoming a career-high 32 points from Suns guard Shannon Brown.
Marcin Gortat scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds Friday, while Nash added 18 points and 10 assists in the Suns' 112-105 win at Houston, helping Phoenix (31-28) pull within one game of both the Rockets and Denver Nuggets, who currently hold the West's final two playoff spots.
Phoenix is 19-9 since Feb. 19 and has won six of its last eight as it seeks to avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in four years.
"It was a huge win for us. Every game is big and we didn't play great in the first half," said Grant Hill, who scored four points Friday after missing the previous nine games due to surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. "We just came out with a sense of urgency in the third quarter."
Nash is averaging 11.1 assists per game - second in the league to Boston's Rajon Rondo - and is averaging 17.4 points and 10.4 assists in his last 20 regular-season games against the Spurs.
San Antonio has defeated the Suns five straight times at home since Phoenix's 103-98 victory Oct. 29, 2008.
We do need to continue getting maximum effort from all Spurs who hit the floor, regardless of who Pop may rest tonight. We might be lucky that the Suns are playing the 2nd of a back-to-back, having beat the Rockets in Houston last night. The Suns have a few bangers who like to hang around the rim in Morris, Warrick, Lopez and Gortat, who we need to neutralize. And if we can stymie Shannon Brown’s shooting, which killed us the last outing, and limit the effectiveness of Nash’s interior passing, we should win.
"If you ever fall, I'll be there." ---the Floor
There's not that much regular season time left. I'm looking for more Diaw, Jackson and Mills to get them firmly entrenched and comfortable with the team. Maybe some Neil at the SG to shake off the rust.
Agreed alh1020! whoever plays from the Spurs needs to Bring it!
Keep in mind those Suns have Blown the Lakers last week by double digits (20). Plus the Suns are on a marathon run for a PO spot.... They will play desperate....... Shannon Brown played awesome for them at that game and so did Redd who came from surgery playing well. Also Telfair and Childress off that bench and of course Gortat and Nash.... They Suns beat the lakers despite losing the rebounding battle 54 to 36 HOWEVER the Suns played good D and had 11 Block Shots and took care of the ball and had ONLY THREE TO's the entire game
Never an automatic W even if it is at HOME SWEET HOME!
Needless to say Spurs need to Bring it!
Close one but Spurs would survive and pull the W
Go Spurs Go!
Yay!!They Did it! Again!
Congrats to our Spurs!
Congrats to Timaaaay Duncan & Co.!!!
You all Rock ROCK ROCK! SO HAPPY!!!!!!
Go Spurs Go!!!!
Spurs win easily tonight
I think he's going to be a star. And as time goes on, he'll be the face of the Spurs, I think.--- Coach Pop on Leonard
NO D, NO RING!!!!
With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
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