Although Leonard entered the contest Saturday as the two-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the Spurs didn’t use him to guard Booker until late in the fourth quarter. The Spurs spent the majority of the game using Parker to guard Booker, and the 20-year-old made sure to capitalize.
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Booker scored 26 points in the second half, yet San Antonio led by 5 (85-80) to start the fourth quarter. The Spurs actually led by 11 with 1:22 remaining in the third, only to watch Booker and the Suns whittle down the lead.
Julio Jones Mens Jersey San Antonio entered the game 26-2 when leading after three quarters this season, and its only losses under those circumstances had taken place in its past two defeats (Tuesday vs. Milwaukee and Jan. 1 at the Hawks). Make that three, courtesy of Phoenix.
On the flip side, Phoenix’s win over the Spurs marked the Suns’ third victory of the season when trailing entering the fourth quarter. Phoenix entered the contest holding a 2-23 mark in games it trailed to start the fourth quarter.
“I thought the Suns did a great job of being aggressive for 48 minutes,” Popovich said. “They clearly played very competitively for the 48, as is evidenced by the 26, or so, second-chance points they got. And, we exacerbated that with 20 points off our turnovers. So, that was really the game. You don’t want to come down to the end of the game having to make a shot to win it. You’ve got to win games earlier than that, but I thought that’s what won the game for them — their second-chance points and points off our turnovers. They did a great job.”