Mills, Leonard lead balanced Spurs past Suns 97-87
- Article by: BOB BAUM
- Associated Press
- February 24, 2013 - 9:49 PM
PHOENIX - Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points apiece to lead six San Antonio players in double figures, and the Spurs ended their nine-game road trip Sunday night with a 97-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The Spurs, with Tony Parker out because of a sore right triceps, finished their annual long journey — caused by a rodeo back home — at 7-2 to boost their NBA-best record to 45-13.
Tiago Splitter scored nine of his 14 in San Antonio's 35-point second quarter.
Marcin Gortat scored 21 for Phoenix, 16 in the first half. Luis Scola added 15, and Goran Dragic had 10 points and 11 assists.
San Antonio beat the Suns for the sixth straight time and ninth in their last 10 meetings.
The Spurs scored the first 14 points of the second quarter, taking a 33-21 lead on Stephen Jackson's 3-pointer from the corner. The outburst reached 25-4 with Splitter scoring seven straight points, punctuated by his three-point play that put the Spurs up 44-25 with 4:53 left in the half.
Phoenix cut the lead to 13 three times the rest of the quarter with San Antonio leading 54-40 at the break.
The Suns never got it to single digits in the second half.
Danny Green sank a 3 to start the third quarter and make it 57-40. The Suns crawled back to cut it to 72-61 on a pair of free throws by Markieff Morris with 1:22 to go in the third quarter, but the Spurs scored the last six points of the period, capped by a breakaway layup from Mills, to lead 78-61 entering the fourth.
After San Antonio took its biggest lead at 84-63, the Suns scored eight in a row to cut it to 84-71 on Gortat's three-point play with 6:42 to go. But Green made another 3 and it was 87-71 with 6 1/2 minutes remaining. The final 11-point margin was as close as it got after that.
Gortat scored 16 in the first half on 8-of-12 shooting but no other Phoenix player had more than four in the first two quarters.
Mills had 12 points and Splitter 11 to lead first-half scoring for San Antonio.
The Spurs play their next six at home, starting with a rematch against Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Notes: The Spurs' long road trip, which was separated by the All-Star break, is an annual affair due to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. ... San Antonio last played at home Feb. 2 against Washington. ... Phoenix has lost three straight at home by 28 to Oklahoma City, 30 to Boston and 11 to San Antonio. ... Suns G Shannon Brown sat for the fourth straight game by coach's decision. ... Markieff Morris, in his second game since being reunited with twin brother Marcus, fouled out in 18 minutes on the court.
© 2014 Star Tribune