A steal by Mario Elie led to his game-deciding free throw with 3.1 seconds remaining in overtime, giving the Spurs a 91-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns last night in San Antonio.
"We played the kind of defense we haven't been playing for a while," San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich said. "Tonight we played a great team in Phoenix who's been real hot lately. We just kept playing and kept playing, we didn't get down. That's this team's personality."
Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and David Robinson contributed 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Clifford Robinson led Phoenix with 26 points and Rex Chapman added 19. Suns guard Jason Kidd had his third triple-double in four games, scoring 15 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Elie came up with his steal after Avery Johnson's miss was rebounded by Chapman near the free throw line. As Chapman turned upcourt, Elie swiped the ball away and was fouled. He made his first free throw and missed the second, but Johnson came up with the offensive rebound and ran out the clock.
"I just went to the line and wanted to hit the free throw," said Elie, who scored 10 points. "We didn't want two overtimes."
The loss broke a four-game winning streak for Phoenix and was the first for Scott Skiles since being named the Suns' head coach on Dec. 13.
RAPTORS 116, NETS 87: Vince Carter had 24 points and Doug Christie made a strong return to the starting lineup as host Toronto snapped a three-game losing streak.
Christie, who missed four games with a sprained right ankle, made four three-pointers and finished with 20 points--14 of them in the first quarter.
"The shots were falling. We moved the ball around extremely well and that's what you need to have night in and night out, consistency," Christie said. "[The ankle] is still a little sore and it's probably going to be a season-long nagging thing, but I'm just going to have to work through it."
Raptors Coach Butch Carter, who earlier in the day signed a contract extension through the 2002-03 season, broke Darrell Walker's club record for victories by a head coach with his 42nd against 66 losses.
PACERS 113, SONICS 103: Reggie Miller scored 31 points and Jalen Rose had 19 to lead the Pacers.
Indiana ran its home winning streak to seven. Miller shot 12 of 19, and Rose and Mark Jackson each handed out 11 assists.
Seattle's Gary Payton, who had 12 assists, scored 28 points by sinking 10 of 17 field goal attempts. Vin Baker scored 24 points and Vernon Maxwell added 17.
"You'd think we could get it right," Payton said. "We've only been doing this since October. I just chalk it up to one of those nights when we played like we were brain-locked."
TRAIL BLAZERS 89, ROCKETS 79: Scottie Pippen, booed every time he touched the ball, made two baskets in the tight closing minutes in Houston.
Pippen, traded to the Blazers by the Rockets in the offseason, was greeted with resounding boos when he was introduced in the starting lineup. He finished with 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
"They were taunting me, but I wasn't saying much, I was just listening," Pippen said. "The fans made it fun for me."
The Trail Blazers snapped a two-game losing streak by holding the Rockets to 11 fourth-quarter points. Steve Smith led the Trail Blazers with 22 points.
KINGS 108, BUCKS 95: Jason Williams scored a career-high 28 points as host Sacramento snapped a three-game losing streak. Predrag Stojakovic added 19 points for the Kings, who had lost six of eight. Kings forward Chris Webber missed his second straight game becuase of a strained neck.