San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Steve Nash could barely see from his right eye after being stitched up, but the veteran point guard scored half of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Phoenix Suns beat San Antonio, 107-101, to sweep their Western Conference semifinal series in four games.
Amare Stoudemire netted 29 points, including 12 in the final period, as the Suns advanced to play either the Los Angeles Lakers or Utah Jazz in the conference finals. The top-seeded Lakers, the defending NBA champions, can finish a sweep against the Jazz on Monday.
Phoenix, which has never captured an NBA title, is in the conference finals for the first time since 2006, when the Suns lost to the Mavericks. The Suns haven’t made it to the NBA Finals since 1993 when they fell in six games to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
Nash took an inadvertent elbow above his right eye from a driving Tim Duncan midway through the third quarter. A bloodied Nash exited to the locker room and received six stitches. He returned to the bench with 1:46 left in the period and iced down the injury before coming back to start the fourth quarter.
The tandem of Nash and Stoudemire dominated the final quarter, running pick- and-rolls and helping the Suns shoot 12-of-19 from the field in the period. Nash ended with nine assists, five of them coming in the fourth.
The Spurs were swept out of the playoffs for the first time since 2001 when they were eliminated in the conference finals by the Lakers.
Tony Parker scored 22, while Duncan contributed 17 points and eight rebounds in defeat. George Hill also had 17 points and Manu Ginobili tallied 15 points and nine assists, but went just 2-of-11 from the field.