SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs surrounded Rudy Gay after a shot that won against Phoenix but the celebration gained a touch of reality when they reached the locker room.
Gay made a 21-foot bounce on the bell and the Spurs beat Devin Booker 38 points to escape with a 126-124 win Tuesday night, extending the Suns series of losses to nine games.
"We were very lucky to win the game," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. "I thought they outplayed us, outplayed us, outplayed us, outplayed us, we did not have respect for them or for the game, we did not play with each other, it was a pathetic performance, and Phoenix stolen."
The Suns lost their previous four games by an average of 23 points and did not have Deandre Ayton, but the Spurs needed a shot in the horn to win.
"It's a win," Gay said. "I'm not happy about what happened, but we got a win. That's part of being a good team – you have to find ways to win."
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio, who are 2-0 in a four-game home despite having played without hurting DeMar DeRozan. Gay finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The Suns lost their 11th straight in San Antonio, even with Booker leveling their points high.
"By dropping nine straight and losing three or four to the game winners, you realize you need to stay locked in the whole game," Booker said. "It's not just the last shot."
Phoenix tied this with 19.6 seconds remaining. Booker stole a pass from Marco Belinelli and fed Josh Jackson to an undeniable burial to make 124-all.
With time abating, Gay was isolated and took the dribble to a jumper over Kelly Oubre Jr. in the left wing as the clock expired to help San Antonio avoid a turn.
"Greet Rudy for having hit it," said Oubre.
The Spurs came in allowing 109.7 points per game, 13 in the NBA, but struggled to contain the Suns. Phoenix had six players in double figures, including 22 points from Jamal Crawford.
"We're not as physical as we were when we were playing well," said San Antonio point guard Derrick White, who scored 15 points. "We have times when we're doing the right things but we have not been consistent with it."
The Suns scored 13 points in 29 with 3 points and fired 60% of the field to make a 12-point deficit in the third quarter in a close win.
The San Antonio raced from 14 to 2 in the middle of third, with a 94-82 lead. Phoenix went up to 96-95 early in the fourth, 106-105 midway through the quarter and 119-118 with two minutes remaining.
"We have just weathered the storm," Crawford said. "They threw some reapers at us and we did not give up, we showed some growth and we kept moving forward, we gave ourselves a chance, that's all you can ask for."
The Spurs finished with seven players in double digits, including all starters. Davis Bertans had 18 points and Belinelli scored 17 on the bench.
Suns: Phoenix's last win in San Antonio was on February 27, 2013, when Jermaine O'Neal scored 22 points on the bench in a 105-101 win. … Ayton lost his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Spurs: DeRozan was out of his third straight game with a left knee injury. He has lost four games this season, all in the last two weeks. … Belinelli was 4 for 7 in 3 points to reach 1,100 3s in his 12th season. Aldridge has 17,968 career points, taking him past World B. Free, Calvin Murphy and Lou Hudson and among the top 75 scorers in NBA history.
PLACE IT, TRAINERS
Bertans was not invited to participate in the 3-point shooting contest during the All-Star weekend, despite leading the league by 3 percentage points.
This confuses your teammates.
"I think he's one of the best 3-point marksmen in the league," Gay said. "I do not know why he is not in the 3-point contest."
TAKE A SLOW
Phoenix has three days off before playing in Atlanta. The Suns are looking for their first win since January 12.
"Right now everyone's a little shaken," Crawford said. "It might be good to stay away for a day and then go back to him."
Suns: Receive the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
Spurs: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.