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Old 03-08-2009, 12:24 AM   #1
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Suns-Spurs Preview

The San Antonio Spurs have eliminated the Phoenix Suns in three of the past four postseasons, and as the NBA enters the final stretch of the 2008-09 regular season, the Spurs are again one of the favorites in the Western Conference.

The Suns, however, might not make it back for another crack at San Antonio.

Phoenix has lost three in a row to fall further out of the West's final playoff spot, a skid it hopes to snap Sunday afternoon as it tries to salvage the finale of a four-game trip against the Southwest Division-leading Spurs.

San Antonio (41-20) took the Suns out of the playoffs in five games after the 2004-05 and 2007-08 seasons, and beat them in six games in the controversy-filled 2007 Western Conference semifinals that was best remembered for one-game suspensions to Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. The Spurs have also won two of three matchups this season.

While the Spurs will certainly be back in the playoffs competing for a fifth NBA title since 1999, the Suns (34-28) may not be joining them. Phoenix won six of eight after Alvin Gentry took over for fired coach Terry Porter, but it's lost the first three games of this trip and is currently stuck in ninth place.

Nash had a season-high 32 points and 13 assists on Friday in Houston, but Aaron Brooks had a career-high 30 as the Rockets held on for a 116-112 win after Nash missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer.

``We got the pace of the game where we wanted it - up-tempo,'' Gentry said. ``Houston likes to play that way too. We seem to be snake bitten with the way things have gone at the end of games lately.''

While the Suns continue to adjust to playing without Stoudemire, who won't return until next season after having surgery to repair a detached retina, Nash has started to score more.


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Old 03-08-2009, 12:25 AM   #2
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