The Phoenix Suns have risen to just about every challenge this season but will arguably face their biggest one yet Tuesday when they meet the San Antonio Spurs at the SBC Center.
The Suns have won 11 straight games and 20 of their last 21 en route to the best start in the NBA since the Chicago Bulls opened the 1996-97 campaign 25-3.
Steve Nash has recorded at least 10 assists in every game during Phoenix's streak, including Sunday's 106-94 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Nash, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, had 18 points and 13 assists and Amare Stoudemire added 33 points.
Stoudemire has reached the 30-point plateau in each of his last three outings and ranks fourth in the league with a 25.6 scoring average.
The Suns' 11-game winning streak matches the second longest in team history, behind only a 14-game stretch in December 1992.
To extend its streak to 12, Phoenix will have to hand San Antonio just its second loss at home this season.
The Spurs, who own the second-best record in the NBA, have won six of their last seven, including all five at the SBC Center.
Two-time MVP Tim Duncan has been held in check in the last two games, scoring just 16.5 points, but Tony Parker has picked up the slack with 23 per game over that stretch after a 27-point performance against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Even with a sub-par effort from Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs had more than enough to continue their home dominance of the Golden State Warriors.
Tony Parker collected a season high-tying 21 points and nine assists and Manu Ginobili added 21, seven rebounds and six assists as the Spurs overcame a poor first 18 minutes to easily defeat the Warriors a 15th straight time at home, 104-85.
Duncan, who had been averaging 23.6 points and 12.6 rebounds, had just 12 and seven in this one but it did not matter as the Spurs shot 52 percent (43-of-83) from the floor.
"As a team, we have to get some pride and stop the guy in front of us," said Warriors forward Troy Murphy, who scored 17 points. "Cliff (Robinson) did a great job of stopping Duncan, and we all have to defend more like that."
The Spurs trailed by 11 points after one quarter and by as many as 14 midway through the second period before waking up. Ginobili scored eight points and Parker six during a 17-0 run that gave San Antonio a 47-43 edge with 1:35 left, and the Spurs led thereafter.
"The group that gave us the run in the second quarter set the table for us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It was the time in the game when we took control. They did a good job from that point on."
Parker produced 17 points in the quarter, which ended with San Antonio ahead, 49-45.
"We started slow. We were flat, like in the New Orleans game," said Parker, alluding to Friday's 83-67 road win. "In the second quarter, we made some stops and did a better job of getting the defensive matchups we wanted."
"There was just too much Tony Parker tonight," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "When he was in the game, he really, really hurt us. We played well early and ran the floor, but when he came back in the second, he really hurt us."
San Antonio held just a 72-67 lead entering the fourth quarter before Ginobili and rookie Beno Udrih helped push the advantage to 94-73 just 4:40 later, combining to score 12 points on a variety of swoops to the basket and reverse layups.
"They are a really good basketball team," Montgomery said. "Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker got to the hoop whenever they wanted. They just killed us with their penetration to the basket tonight."
Jason Richardson contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which has not won in San Antonio since a 108-94 victory at the Alamodome on February 14, 1997 - four months before the Spurs drafted Duncan.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The San Antonio Spurs are sitting pretty right now. They are on a 8 game winning streak and are in first place in the South West division.
The Spurs are also sitting on a 16-3 record.
Ducan put on another grade A effort by putting up another double - double in there latest win against the sloppy Bulls. The final score was 91 - 75. The Spurs win, of course.
Next game will take place in Seattle. That is going to be a tough one. Seattle is also leading there division with a 15-3. So watch the game.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs' fast start didn't surprise Utah coach Jerry Sloan.
Malik Rose scored a season-high 16 points, San Antonio made nine of its first 10 shots and the Spurs beat the Jazz 109-76 on Saturday night.
"They started out just like I thought they would," Sloan said. "They came out and tried to destroy us."
Manu Ginobili added 15 points, Tony Parker and Devin Brown each had 14 and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 12-for-16 in the opening quarter.
While San Antonio's offensive got off to a hot start, the Spurs' defense held Utah to 3-for-12 shooting over the same span. At 7:01 of the first quarter, the Spurs led 20-6.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, notoriously hard to please, was happy with his team's intensity -- particularly on defense.
"That's what they're paid to do -- bring their best every game," he said.
Matt Harpring scored 15 points and Gordan Giricek 14 to lead the the Jazz, who played most of the night without Andrei Kirilenko, their No. 2 scorer and rebounder.
Kirilenko, averaging about 16 points and eight rebounds, went down with a sprained right knee in a collision with San Antonio's Beno Udrih early in the second quarter.
But by that point, the Spurs already had a 23-point lead and were well on their way to their 19th straight victory at home. Kirilenko was scoreless in nine minutes.
"It's not really hurt, it's just uncomfortable," said Kirilenko, who needed crutches to get around.
A 6-foot jumper off the rim by Duncan accounted for San Antonio's only miss in the game's first five minutes. The Spurs shot 12-for-16 in the opening quarter.
Udrih's second 3-pointer of the game with 10:10 left in the second gave San Antonio a 35-14 lead, and after that the Jazz were never closer than 20. At one point in the fourth, Utah trailed by 37.
"Our defense is getting better and better," Parker said. "You really have to focus on taking care of the ball when you build a big lead. We were up 20 in Toronto (last week) and lost."
Carlos Boozer, Utah's leader at 20.2 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game, had six points and three rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth.
The Spurs have beaten Utah 18 straight times dating to February 2000.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
A bad start and a bad finish had Mike Montgomery in a bad mood.
Still looking for his first win, Montgomery picked up his first technical foul as the Golden State Warriors succumbed, 91-71, to the San Antonio Spurs, who got 23 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks from Tim Duncan.
"We got a win against a team that is fighting to find its way," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Hired away from Stanford to replace Eric Musselman, Montgomery is learning how tough it is to win in the NBA. The Warriors came in 0-4 and dug themselves an immediate hole, falling behind, 23-12, after one quarter.
"In almost every game, we've had a quarter where we've not made a shot and given us a horrible chance to win," Montgomery said. "I don't know what it is, but typically it's been in the first quarter, and tonight it was in the first. We've just got to keep pushing."
Golden State hung around and pulled within five points late in the third quarter. It still was within 72-64 with 7:38 left after a 3-pointer by Jason Richardson, who scored 13 points. But the Warriors went scoreless for nearly five minutes as the Spurs rattled off 12 straight points to open a 20-point lead.
Midway through the drought, Montgomery began arguing with referee Ron Garretson and picked up his first technical foul. It had no effect on his team, which continued to shoot blanks.
"The technical with a little over five minutes left in the game was because I wanted to let my players know I am behind them 100 percent and because Dale (center Dale Davis) had one right before and I wanted to assure my players that I am in their corner," Montgomery said.
Two free throws by Mike Dunleavy Jr. finally ended the dry spell at the 2:45 mark, but Montgomery wasn't done making his points. In the final minute, his team allowed Mike Wilks to drive for an uncontested layup and he immediately called a 20-second timeout to berate his players.
After the game, Montgomery said he called the timeout to get rookie Andris Biedrins some playing time. But Golden State's locker room was closed for more than 20 minutes after the contest.
"My team needs a stronger mentality on defense and it is not happening," Montgomery said. "It's hard to know where to get a basket. Too many jump shots are happening and we need to drive to the hole more. Player combinations aren't working, but I know that this will come around eventually. I'm hoping to find more double-figure scorers and more consistency both offensively and defensively out of my guys."
Dunleavy scored 13 points for Golden State, which is 0-5 for the first time since the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
"I feel the pieces will fit eventually and come together," said Warriors guard Derek Fisher, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason. "It's a matter of time before we start to jell. It's just not happening as of yet."
Duncan was his usual unstoppable self and also anchored a defense that limited Golden State to 32.5 percent (26-of-80) shooting. The Spurs bounced back from Sunday's surprising 19-point loss at Seattle.
"This is pretty close to how I thought we would respond," Duncan said. "We were better defensively and we executed on the offensive end better."
Manu Ginobili added 22 points for the Spurs, who never trailed and won their 14th straight home meeting with the Warriors dating to Feb. 14, 1997 - four months before Duncan was drafted
Parker is out to show he is more valuable to the San Antonio Spurs than team officials think.
Parker scored eight of his 16 points in the third quarter as the Spurs broke open the game and went on to a 102-86 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in the preseason finale for both teams.
Parker, who will be paid $1.5 million this season, broke off contract extension talks Wednesday after Spurs management declined to increase their offer of six years at $64 million. If no extension agreement is reached by Sunday, Parker can become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
San Antonio turned a 44-40 halftime lead into an 80-64 advantage after three quarters. Parker and Tim Duncan combined for 19 of the Spurs' points in the third. Duncan finished with 17.
Brent Barry came off the bench to add 14 points, including consecutive 3-pointers late in the third quarter. Tony Massenburg chipped in with 12 for San Antonio (4-3), which won its fourth straight.
Baron Davis had 21 points and Chris Andersen added 13 and nine boards as the Hornets fell to 3-5.
New Orleans, which moves to the Western Conference this season, opens the regular season Wednesday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. San Antonio hosts the Sacramento Kings on the same night.
Monday, October 25, 2004
SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 23 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan scored 21 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 91-82 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics in preseason action.
After the Spurs gained a 51-40 lead at halftime, Duncan single-handedly broke open the game. He scored the first seven points of the third quarter and his team's first nine to help San Antonio build a 60-42 advantage.
A two-time Most Valuable Player, Duncan shot 8-of-10 from the floor and was the only Spurs player to score in double figures. Devin Brown chipped in eight points and five rebounds off the bench.
San Antonio shot better than 52 percent from the floor in earning its first preseason win.
Damien Wilkins came off the bench to lead Seattle with 17 points. Wilkins, a rookie out of North Carolina State, was 8-of-12 from the floor and hit his first 3-pointer since joining the team.
Ray Allen scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half for the Sonics, who have dropped four in a row after opening their exhibition schedule with a win.