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Spurs Buzzer Beater Tops Suns

After frittering away an 18-point lead, the San Antonio Spurs needed a buzzer-beater by Sean Elliott to beat the Phoenix Suns.

Elliott hit a 21-foot jumper at the buzzer as the Spurs edged the Suns 99-97 for their sixth straight victory.

Steve Kerr got the inbounds pass to Elliott, who ducked under George McCloud and hit the game-winner.

"Really, I'm about the last resort on that play," said Elliott, who scored 16 points. "We knew they were going to make a run at us, but we didn't know it was going to be so furious."

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  • Tim Duncan scored 26 points for San Antonio, which hadn't won in Phoenix since a Christmas Day victory in 1995.

    Tom Gugliotta scored a season-high 33 points for the Suns, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.

    "We battled back, but we just keep putting ourselves in those positions pretty consistently," Gugliotta said.

    Clifford Robinson, making his fifth start of the season, added 20 points and Jason Kidd had 14 points and 15 assists.

    The Suns have lost four straight at home for the first time since opening the 1996-97 season with six straight home losses.

    "That is a tough game to lose when you make a spectacular run like that at the end," Suns coach Danny Ainge said. "That is pretty passionate basketball and from my perspective I can't ask for any more than that."

    The Spurs led by as many as 18 points and still held a 91-86 lead with 1:57 remaining. Phoenix rallied, pulling to 91-90 on Danny Manning's 15-foot jumper with 1:35 to go.

    Elliott hit a 3-pointer and the Spurs added three free throws to take a 97-93 lead. But Kidd hit a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining, stole a pass by Mario Elie and threw up a shot that was tipped in by Danny Manning to tie the game with 2.1 seconds to go.

    "Jason Kidd is a royal pain in the butt," Spur coach Greg Popovich said. "He was a pain in the butt in high school, too. He's been a pain in the butt forever. He worries you to death. But they might be saying the same thing about Sean over there as I'm saying about Kidd."

    Duncan scored four points and Elie added a 3-pointer as the Spurs ran out to an 11-2 lead. But Gugliotta scored 10 points and Robinson added five as the Suns outscored the Spurs 23-11 the rest of the way to take a 25-22 first-quarter lead.

    "It's a big thing for us to come out and start strong," Duncan said. "I think in some past games we came out really lax."

    The teams traded the lead twice in the second quarter and tied twice more before Jaren Jackson hit a 3-pointer and Avery Johnson added a driving layup to give San Antonio a 52-49 halftime lead.

    "We're playing in spurts and it shows," Robinson said. "It shows when you get down by 12 on your home floor and you have to exert a lot of energy to get back in the game."

    Duncan and David Robinson combined to help the Spurs extend a three-point halftime lead. Duncan scored 12 points and Robinson added four as San Antonio opened the half with a 25-11 run to take a 77-62 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter.

    "Things were going down for me," Duncan said. "They were finding me in open spots and getting me the ball."

    Notes: The courtside featured a pair of Olympic gold-medal winners, former heavyeight champion Muhammad Ali and 200-meter world-record holder Michael Johnson. Both signed autographs at halftime. ... Suns rookie Toby Bailey made his first career start in place of Rex Chapman, who missed his third consecutive game with a bruised shin. ... The Spurs are 3-7 in their last 10 regular-season games against the Suns, but 5-1 versus Phoenix in the playoffs over the last three seasons.

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