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article imageNBA: Spurs bow down to Suns, lose Ginobili in process

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 14, 2011 in Sports
Phoenix - After having the league’s best record for months, the San Antonio Spurs lost it on the last night of the regular season, falling to the Phoenix Suns, a sub-500 team, and in the process lost Manu Ginobili for an unspecified period of time.
San Antonio ended their regular season on Wednesday night in Phoenix with a whimper, falling to the Suns, 106-103, losing the league’s best record to the Chicago Bulls, and despite head coach Gregg Popovich’s attempts at resting his starters, lost Ginobili to a hyperextended right elbow just 2:14 into the game.
An MRI is scheduled for Thursday that will provide more information on when Ginobili can return for the post season that begins with a series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
Memphis lost its season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday by resting three of its starters. The loss assured the Grizzlies of the eight-seed in the playoffs, giving them a chance to play the Spurs, a team they match up well against.
The two teams split their regular season series, 2-2, with Memphis manhandling the Spurs in its two wins. Another game was decided in overtime, one the Spurs won by three points.
In Phoenix, however, the Spurs had the wind taken out of their sail early in the first when Ginobili went down hard after getting tangled with the Suns Grant Hill. With the Suns up by a point, 7-6, Ginobili came off a Tim Duncan pick and was tripped up. He left the game and headed for the locker room, and the Spurs headed south.
Phoenix quickly built a 20-point lead in the first half, and the Spurs were forced to play catch-up ball all night. The Suns scored 43 points in the first quarter, the most allowed by the Spurs defense in any quarter all season.
Although a Gary Neal floater in the lane gave the Spurs an 8-0 run late in the second quarter, pulling them within 58-51, the run came as a result of Phoenix missing ten straight shots. The Suns recovered to take a 61-53 lead into intermission.
Late in the fourth quarter, San Antonio pulled within striking distance at 102-101, but the Suns’ Aaron Brooks hit four free throws in the final 7.6 seconds to seal the victory.
For Phoenix, it is their first miss in the playoffs since the 2003-04 season, and only the second time in the last two decades to miss the post season.
San Antonio, dealing with a healthy-team-for-the-playoffs philosophy that has not worked out too well, limps into the playoffs having lost eight of their last twelve regular season games, including six straight at one point. They have gone 15-11 since the All-Star break.
More about NBA, San antonio spurs, Phoenix suns, Nba playoffs, Manu ginobili
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