For more on tonight's game, check out our Spurs blog at Pounding The Rock and our Suns blog at Bright Side Of The Sun.
(Sports Network) - Steve Nash and his Phoenix Suns stand on the verge of exorcising quite a few demons tonight as they try and sweep the San Antonio Spurs out of the Western Conference semifinals.
Four of the last five times the Suns have been in the playoffs, they were shown the door by the Spurs, and Nash, the former two-time NBA MVP, has never beaten San Antonio in the postseason.
That could all change tonight thanks to Nash's understudy, Goran Dragic, a second-round pick of San Antonio in the 2008 draft.
Dragic was the unlikely difference-maker for the Suns in Game 3 on Friday, scoring 23 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to spark Phoenix to a 110-96 comeback victory over the Spurs for a stunning 3-0 series lead.
Phoenix essentially erased an 18-point first half deficit by the end of the third quarter and shot 15-of-21 over the final 12 minutes to put the Spurs on the brink of elimination in front of the AT&T Center crowd.
Nash, who sat idly on the bench during most of Dragic's heroics, added 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the resounding win. Dragic finished 10-of-13 from the field and made all five of his attempts from behind the arc.
"I don't know how many guys in the history of the game have had a quarter like that," Nash said of Dragic's performance. "I'm incredibly proud of him. We've been waiting for him to get confidence and in the flow of the game. Obviously he had that. It was a pleasure to watch."
Jason Richardson and Grant Hill chipped in 21 and 18 points, respectively, for the Suns, who shot 15-of-26 from three-point range.
Manu Ginobili posted 27 points for the Spurs, who received 15 points and 13 rebounds from Tim Duncan and 12 and 10 from Antonio McDyess.
The trio of Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson and George Hill combined to shoot a miserable 7-of-33 from the floor for 22 points in the devastating setback.
"It was embarrassing," Ginobili said of the fourth quarter. "They were great and we were pretty poor defensively...It seemed like we just couldn't stop them. It was demoralizing."
Parker, who returned to the starting lineup in Friday's contest, needed to have X-rays taken on his lower back after a few hard spills in Game 3 but is expected to play tonight as San Antonio attempts to avoid being swept in the postseason for the first time since the Lakers won all four games in their 2001 conference finals set.
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series but Phoenix is taking nothing for granted.
"Somebody said it's 88-0 when you're 3-0," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "You know what, there's also a situation where a man didn't walk on the moon until 1969."
These two franchises have matched up nine times in the postseason with the Spurs winning six, including the last four. In recent years, the Suns were beaten by San Antonio in a 2008 first-round matchup and a 2007 semifinal series.
The Suns haven't beaten San Antonio in the postseason since 2000 and the last three times the Spurs have won the NBA championship, the team eliminated Phoenix along the way.
Game 5 in the series, if necessary, will be in Phoenix on Tuesday.