Two bank shots from three-point range -- one by Amare Stoudemire late in regulation; the other by Stephon Marbury at the buzzer in overtime -- gave the Phoenix Suns an unlikely victory yesterday in San Antonio.
Marbury banked in a running three-pointer after Tim Duncan missed three free throws in the final 16 seconds, lifting Phoenix past the Spurs, 96-95, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Marbury got the rebound after Duncan's final miss with 5.1 seconds left and sped up the floor. He leaped from a foot outside the three-point arc and released his shot just before the horn sounded, the ball kissing off the glass and through the net.
"It was a teardrop from God," said Marbury, who played all 53 minutes. "I knew it was good."
Teammate Shawn Marion wasn't so sure.
"I saw it and I was going to try to get a tip-in, and it went in," said Marion, who finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. "He hit it, and I was so happy."
The win was the Suns' fourth in five games against San Antonio this season. Two of those contests went into overtime.
The Spurs missed 6 of 8 foul shots in overtime and managed to go only 26 of 41 (63 percent) at the line for the game. Duncan was 3 for 8.
Marbury led Phoenix with 26 points, 17 coming in the second half.
Stoudemire, who also scored 24 points, hit a three-pointer off the glass from a nearly straightway angle with 8.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 87. It was only his third three-pointer of the season. Duncan missed a corner jumper before the buzzer to force overtime.
Stephen Jackson paced the Spurs with 23 points, while David Robinson had 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting and Duncan scored 17 to go with 13 rebounds.
* CELTICS 103, PACERS 100: Paul Pierce missed 15 of his first 19 shots but scored 21 of his 40 points in the final quarter, leading Boston back from a 13-point deficit in Indianapolis.
"I thought we did a good job of putting me in position to drive," Pierce said. "I was able to get to the basket every time. I knew I could beat my man."
Pierce's primary defender was Ron Artest before he fouled out with 40 seconds left. That left the Pacers scrambling to contain Pierce, whose three-pointer with 27 seconds left put the Celtics ahead, 99-97.
Pierce also went 21 for 21 from the free throw line, setting an NBA playoff record for most free throws made without a miss.
Pierce got 11 rebounds, but it was his free throw shooting that made up most for his otherwise off-night. His 11 free throws in the fourth were two shy of the most ever made in one playoff quarter. They were Boston's only free throws in the quarter.
* MAVERICKS 96, TRAIL BLAZERS 86: In front of 20,336 -- the largest home crowd in Dallas's history -- Dirk Nowitzki scored a career-high 46 points, including 10 during a 15-1 third-quarter run that began while Rasheed Wallace was in the locker room after he turned his left ankle.
Nowitzki, who also had 10 rebounds, upped his career best by four and broke the team playoff scoring record, set by assistant coach Rolando Blackman. He came within four of the most points ever scored by a Maverick.
Wallace (26 points) was gone for nearly four minutes in the third quarter after being injured. Portland led by eight at the time and was up two when he returned, but he was limping.
* NETS 109, BUCKS 96: Jason Kidd schooled his playground mentor Gary Payton with 14 points, 14 assists and 6 rebounds, holding Payton scoreless for more than 31/2 quarters as the defending Eastern Conference champions won their opening-round playoff game in East Rutherford, N.J.
"He set the tone," Payton said of Kidd. "He made shots and got assists. He scored 14 points in the first quarter. His whole team played well."
The Bucks didn't, particularly Payton.
The perennial all-star didn't score until there was 4:10 to go, drawing a derisive cheer from those left in the crowd of 16,102. He finished with 8 points, 10 assists and 5 turnovers in a game in which the Nets led by 31 early in the fourth quarter.
* KINGS 96, JAZZ 90: Karl Malone scored 25 points for visiting Utah, but Chris Webber had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Kings in the opener of the best-of-seven series.