San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich says Bryn Forbes has “never seen a shot he didn’t like.” There was one in particular that both of them must have loved Saturday night. Forbes sank his only 3-pointer of the night with 21.5 seconds to play and the severely depleted Spurs held off a fourth-quarter Phoenix rally to beat the Suns 104-101.
“It was our fifth game in seven nights, on the road, had a back-to-back to end it all,” Popovich said. “I thought we were pretty tired, but I thought they hung in as well as they could.” The Spurs left Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili home to rest after a victory over Boston on Friday night and had Danny Green (left groin tightness) and Kyle Anderson (left MCL sprain) out with injuries.
Still, they led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before the Suns came back to take their first lead of the night, 100-99, on Marquese Chriss’ breakaway dunk with 1:32 to go after a San Antonio turnover. Josh Jackson made one of two free throws to boost the Phoenix lead to 101-99 with 29 seconds remaining before Patty Mills got the ball to Forbes, who made his lone 3 in six tries.
“I think every shot is going in,” Forbes said. “He (LaMarcus Aldridge) set a great screen and got me wide open. I couldn’t have asked for a better screen. Patty put it right in my shot pocket. That is what he told me to say. He made a great pass.”
Phoenix’s Mike James scored 25 points, one shy of his career high, but missed a 3-pointer, the Spurs got the rebound and Mills sank two free throws with 1.6 seconds to play. Jared Dudley’s 3 from the corner went off the side of the backboard at the buzzer.
Mills and Aldridge scored 20 apiece for San Antonio in its fourth straight win and eighth in nine games. T.J. Warren scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half for the Suns, who fell to 0-2 since losing Devin Booker to a left adductor strain that is expected to sideline him two to three weeks. “Took us 24 minutes to find a group that would play with the right energy,” Phoenix interim coach Jay Triano said. “I mean, we just seemed to be a step slow. You know, I was mixing guys in and out trying to look for offense, defense, anything that would give us some juice and finally got it in the second half.”
Antonio led by as many as 15 in the first half and 19 in the third quarter before a 12-2 Suns surge to cut the Spurs’ lead to 71-69 on Troy Daniels’ 3-pointer from the corner with 53 seconds left in the period. But Mills made two 3s in the final 10 seconds of the quarter and San Antonio led 79-71 entering the fourth.
Warren rattled in a 3 to punctuate another 12-2 surge that made it tied it 94-94 for the first time since it was 2-2. Aldridge said it was good to have to “learn how to execute down the stretch with different guys.”
“A lot of these guys haven’t been in that type of moment, haven’t been in the game down the stretch,” he said. “We had some mistakes but just helping these guys get better and having them be in those types of moments is something that is going to make us better down the stretch.”
Spurs: Dejounte Murray tied his career high with 14 rebounds. … Brandon Paul and Forbes each got his second start of the season, Rudy Gay his fourth. … Gasol missed his first game of the season after starting the first 26. … San Antonio had an 18-10 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Suns: Phoenix starters scored four points in first quarter on 1-for-7 shooting. … Suns have lost 11 of last 12 against the Spurs. Their lone win in that span came last season in Mexico City.
UP NEXT Spurs: Kawhi Leonard could make his season debut at Dallas on Tuesday night.
Suns: At Sacramento on Tuesday night.