Spurs vs. Suns: Richard Jefferson's Big 4th Quarter Buries Phoenix
In the end, the Spurs pulled away on the strength of an 18-point fourth quarter from Richard Jefferson, by a final of 112-110, to send San Antonio to 3-1, and the Suns to just 1-3 on the young season.
1st Quarter: Spurs 23, Suns 22
DeJuan Blair doesn't just foul people, he makes sure they'll feel it tomorrow. Two of those in the first six minutes sent him to the bench, and Suns center Robin Lopez followed him with two of his own, although his were of the far less violent variety.
Grant Hill and Tony Parker lead their respective teams with eight points apiece, and Hill continues to be solid in first quarters for the Suns. His energy and his finishing power seem to be deadly for opponents in the early-going, and it continued tonight.
Gary Neal has been a super-sub for the Spurs the last two games, and immediately after he checked in for this one, you could see why. He immediately launched an open three without hesitation (one which he missed, but, you know -- confidence!), then successfully batted down an entry pass from Steve Nash when Hill had established inside position.
Tiago Splitter made his second appearance of this young season with 2:24 remaining in the period, and solidly defended Hakim Warrick in the post, standing his ground against a series of strong pump fakes. Splitter was whistled for the foul while keeping his arms straight up, however. Rookie treatment?
2nd Quarter: Spurs 50, Suns 50
After Goran Dragic sparked the Suns bench to a 34-28 advantage, Manu Ginobili scored eight points in the next minute and a half to keep the Spurs alive.
A third foul on Robin Lopez forced the Suns to give Garret Siler his NBA debut with 6:15 to go in the period, and initially, Siler was effective, with a rebound and a couple of blocks in his first two minutes on the floor. But then, Tim Duncan introduced himself, going right around Siler on the block, and later hit one of his famous bank shot over him on the wing.
Steve Nash finished the period just 2 of 10 from the field, but yet was leading his team in rebounding at the break with 4. After a particularly bad stretch, one fan behind me actually yelled for Dragic to be reinserted, if you can believe it. To be fair, Dragic did have eight points and four assists in just eight minutes of action, and was forced to the bench after picking up a third personal foul. But still, Suns fan ... really?
3rd Quarter: Spurs 81, Suns 79
Things heated up in the third, with San Antonio going up by as many as 11 on the strength of a 10-0 run. But Steve Nash finally got going, and scored 11 points in the quarter to get the Suns back in it.
The Suns showed some fire in the period, with Nash slamming the ball down in frustration after Lopez fumbled a pass of his (that would have led to an open dunk) out of bounds, and Hill letting the official know about Blair's excessive use of the elbow to clear space.
Tim Duncan has been unstoppable, and has 25 points and 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action. Hill swatted a shot attempt at the rim by Splitter out of bounds at the third quarter buzzer, to keep the Spurs leading by just two heading into the final period.
4th Quarter: Spurs 112, Suns 110
An exciting, back-and-forth battle was single-handedly decided by the Spurs' Richard Jefferson. He hit four three-pointers in the left corner in the period, including three straight at one point, to finish with 18 in the quarter. His fourth, which came with 1:38 to play, put the Spurs up for good at 108-106.