- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 13, 2007

SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan had 33 points — 13 in the fourth quarter — and 19 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 108-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns last night and a 2-1 lead in the second-round series.

Manu Ginobili also had the kind of night San Antonio needed after poor performances in Games 1 and 2. Despite a bloodied eye, he had 24 points, including 10 in less than two minutes in the third quarter.

Phoenix point guard Steve Nash was scoreless in the first half and finished with 16 points. He had 10 points in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough as the Suns got as close as 99-93 with 3:22 left and 104-98 with 1:42 to go.

Game 4 is tomorrow night in San Antonio.

Shawn Marion led the Suns with 26 points. Amare Stoudemire finished with 21 but was in foul trouble for most of the second half. Nash also had 11 assists.

Bruce Bowen’s 3-pointer with eight minutes left in the third was the go-ahead basket for San Antonio and gave it a 62-60 lead.

The tension of the playoff series between two of the league’s top teams was heightened after Stoudemire on Thursday called the Spurs a “dirty team” and specifically called out Bowen, saying he purposely kicked him during the Suns’ Game 2 win on Tuesday, and Ginobili.

Stoudemire said he expected the hostile reaction from the crowd to motivate him.

Tony Parker had 16 points for San Antonio, and Bowen added 10.

Raja Bell scored 12 points for Phoenix, and Boris Diaw had 10. Kurt Thomas had 12 rebounds for the Suns.

Nash, still with six stitches on his nose from a Game 1 collision with Parker, was scoreless in the first half, missing all four of his attempts.

But his teammates picked up the slack. Bell’s back-to-back 3s early in the second quarter helped Phoenix build a 10-point lead over San Antonio with a little more than nine minutes to play in the half.

And Stoudemire fueled Phoenix with 5-for-7 shooting from the field.

The Spurs’ first 3 of the game — they missed their first seven attempts — came from Michael Finley with 7.9 seconds remaining to give the Spurs a 55-53 lead at the break.

Nash got his first point of the game at the beginning of the third quarter, when he made one of two free throws. To the delight of Spurs fans, Stoudemire quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls and went to the bench for the rest of the quarter with 10:35 remaining.

Then the Spurs started making 3s. Brent Barry hit one with 8:14 left in the third to start a 10-0 Spurs run. Bowen followed with back-to-back 3s to put the Spurs up 65-60.

Nash was 0-for-9 from the field before he made his first basket with five minutes left in the third to bring the Suns within 66-62.

Ginobili scored 12 points in the quarter and 10 in the last 1:58. Even after Ginobili got a bloody eye as he got caught up with Marion on a drive to the basket, he hit a jumper, three free throws and a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 80-72 going into the final quarter.

Stoudemire was back at the beginning of the fourth, but his fifth foul with 11:41 to go sent him to the bench again. And his missed alley-oop dunk off a pass from Nash with 1:12 to go punctuated Phoenix’s bad night.

Marion also had 10 points in the fourth.

Notes — Responding to questions about Stoudemire’s comments before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said: “Amare’s a great player — he’s very young.” …

American Idol contestant Haley Scarnato of San Antonio sang the national anthem. Scarnato was voted off the show in April. …

Game 3 was the second time this season Nash didn’t score during the first half. The first time came when the Suns visited Toronto on Jan. 3. …

Suns coach Mike D’Antoni was given a technical foul with 7:29 left in the fourth after San Antonio stole the ball from Nash. …

Fans chanted “Dirty! Dirty!” when Stoudemire went to the foul line. …

The Suns had 16 turnovers for 23 points, and the Spurs had 11 turnovers for 16 points. …

The Spurs finished 7-for-20 from 3-point range, while the Suns were 9-for-17.

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