Spurs move a win away from finals

Sunday, May 29, 2005

SAN ANTONIO -- This was the San Antonio Spurs everyone expects, the guys in black smothering the fun out of any offense, even the most high-powered.

Eliminating the fast break, denying the paint and running at 3-point shooters, Tim Duncan and the Spurs dismantled everything the Phoenix Suns tried for most of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, turning their superb defense into a 102-92 victory Saturday night that puts them on the brink of reaching the championship round.

San Antonio held Phoenix under 106 points for the first time this postseason, mainly by giving up just 36 first-half points, including a measly 10 in the second quarter. The Suns finally made a charge in the fourth quarter, getting within six twice in the final minute, but the Spurs fought it off with Duncan and Manu Ginobili going 6-of-6 from the foul line.

The Spurs lead 3-0, and no team ever rallied from that deficit to win a series in the NBA playoffs. Phoenix seems pretty unlikely to change it.

Game 4 is Monday night.

Duncan led San Antonio with 33 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Tony Parker had 18 points and seven assists and Ginobili had 18 points and seven rebounds.

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