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article imageNBA: Spurs awaken from slumber, pound Phoenix

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 3, 2011 in Sports
San Antonio - In a Sunday afternoon game that saw the Spurs emerge from their recent hibernation that led to a six-game losing streak, the longest in the 14-year Tim Duncan era, San Antonio turned into an ungracious host, pounding the visiting Phoenix Suns, 114-97.
Opening the game with a new-found sense of urgency, San Antonio quickly jumped on the Suns, thanks to George Hill’s off-the-bench performance that delivered 16 points during a six-minute stretch of the first quarter and resulted in a commanding 35-20 Spurs lead at the end of one.
Unrelenting in the second quarter, the Spurs built their lead to 51-26 on back-to-back three-pointers by Gary Neal and George Hill.
Although Phoenix went on a 10-2 run late in the second quarter, the Spurs still managed a 70-46 lead going into intermission, thanks to a Hill basket at the halftime buzzer.
Playing without future Hall of Fame inductee Steve Nash, suffering from flu-like symptoms, the Suns went on a 17-3 run late in the third quarter, thanks in part to 13 straight missed shots by the Spurs, but still trailed, 91-71, going into the final quarter.
The closest Phoenix got in the fourth quarter was 106-93, and while they had seven players score in double figures for the game, but they could do no better, as San Antonio buckled down for the 17-point victory.
The Suns had seven players score in double figures and were led by Aaron Brooks and Channing Frye with 14 points each.
For the first time in weeks, the Spurs played solid defense for a full four-quarter session. Adding to their positive play, they owned the paint, out-rebounding Phoenix 51-37.
The Spurs were led by Hill with 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Matt Bonner shook off his recent performances with a double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Neal added 15 points and Richard Jefferson added 12 points on 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.
San Antonio’s aggressive performance, including 73 points from the bench, allowed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to limit playing time for Duncan and Antonio McDyess to just under 19 minutes apiece.
With the win, and with just five games left in the regular season, the Spurs increased their lead in the Western Conference to two games over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, who were hosting Denver later in the day.
More about San antonio spurs, Phoenix suns, NBA, Losing streak, george hill
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