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Friday, May 7, 2010

Suns finish strong, take 2-0 series lead

PHOENIX (AP) The Phoenix Suns took a stand, and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

News photo
Giving chase: Phoenix's Steve Nash drives to the hoop while being pursued by San Antonio's Tony Parker (left) and Tim Duncan in Game 2 on Wednesday night. The Suns won 110-102 and lead the second-round series 2-0. AP PHOTO

Los Suns ganaron. In Spanish, that means the Suns won.

Amare Stoudemire had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Channing Frye made 5 of 6 3-pointers, and Phoenix, wearing its orange "Los Suns" jerseys in part to protest Arizona's new anti-immigration law, pulled away for a 110-102 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Steve Nash and Jason Richardson scored 19 points apiece and Grant Hill added 18 in a grind-it-out game played at the Spurs' pace until the Suns started hitting 3-pointers. After starting 1 of 7 from long range, Phoenix made eight of its next 12.

Tim Duncan had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Richard Jefferson rebounded from a poor Game 1 with 18 points and 10 boards for San Antonio. Tony Parker added 20 points for the Spurs.

The best-of-seven series shifts to San Antonio for Game 3 on Friday night.

"I have to say the impressive thing to me with the win was the team effort," Nash said. "So many guys made plays for our team tonight, and I can't remember really being a part of a team that's had so many guys step up and play well."

Manu Ginobili, guarded mainly by Hill, was 2 of 8 from the field, including just 1 of 2 in the second half, but had 11 assists for the Spurs. Hill also made two big shots down the stretch.

"Grant Hill never ceases to amaze me," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. "There's a 37-year-old — he hates when I say that. Here's a guy who plays on our team that's been in the league for a long, long time. He just does a good job. . . ."

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich singled out Frye.

"He might have had one that was open, but the rest were contested," Popovich said. "When he does that, they're very, very difficult to guard."

The Spurs outshot Phoenix 51 percent to 42 percent but the Suns outrebounded taller San Antonio 49-37, 18-7 on the offensive boards. Stoudemire made just 5 of 16 shots but was 11 of 13 at the free-throw line.

Phoenix outscored the Spurs by 14 at the line, going 29 of 37 to San Antonio's 15 of 22.

The score was nearly identical to Game 1, won by Phoenix 111-102.

There was almost no evidence in the loud arena of the storm stirred up on Tuesday when Suns owner Robert Sarver issued a statement saying the team would wear "Los Suns" on their jerseys, to celebrate diversity on Cinco de Mayo but also to protest the immigration bill passed by the Arizona legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

"I'm proud of our owner for making this stand but we're not out there to alienate," Nash said. "We want this to be all about love in our community. People, regardless of whether they agree with me or not, we have love for everybody."

The bill has drawn criticism from civil rights groups and others, including President Barrack Obama, who called it "misguided."

Obama even mentioned the issue at a news conference Wednesday, referring to the series between the Spurs "and Los Suns of Phoenix."

The Suns trailed the entire first half before climbing into a 51-51 tie at the break. They had a precarious 78-76 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Stoudemire scored six points and Hill made two free throws in an 8-1 spurt that put Phoenix ahead 103-92 with 3:34 to play and San Antonio never recovered.



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