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NBA | San Antonio bashes Phoenix; James and Cavaliers clip Nets

PHOENIX - The San Antonio Spurs left the Phoenix Suns bloodied and beaten in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

PHOENIX - The San Antonio Spurs left the Phoenix Suns bloodied and beaten in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Tim Duncan had 33 points and 16 rebounds - eight offensive - and Tony Parker added 32 points to lead the Spurs to a rough-and-tumble 111-106 victory yesterday.

Steve Nash scored 31 points for Phoenix but missed a crucial 45 seconds in the final minute because of a bloody cut on his nose, the result of a head-on collision with Parker with 2 minutes, 53 seconds to play. The cut required six stitches after the game.

Michael Finley added 19 points for San Antonio, which with the victory has home-court advantage for the rest of the series.

Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 18 rebounds but was just 6 of 19 shooting. Leandro Barbosa scored 18 points for the Suns. Shawn Marion, after a slow start, scored 16, 11 in the final quarter.

Game 2 is tomorrow night in Phoenix.

After Parker stole Nash's pass, the two collided head-to-head in the San Antonio backcourt. Parker fell to the floor and Nash walked away bleeding. Parker eventually got to his feet and both stayed in the game, Nash with a bandage over the cut.

Nash made a three-pointer to tie the game at 102 with 2:25 to play, then Duncan gave the Spurs the lead for good with a 10-foot baseline hook shot. Nash missed a three, then Parker sank a 23-footer to put San Antonio ahead by 106-102 with 1:23 remaining.

Nash's driving layup with 1:13 left cut the margin to 106-104 1:13 from the finish, and Raja Bell drew an offensive foul on Parker to give Phoenix the ball. But Nash had to come out with 54.8 seconds to go because of blood oozing around the bandage.

The bleeding finally was contained and Nash returned with 9.1 seconds to go, but by then, San Antonio led by 110-106.

The Spurs were 5 for 9 at the foul line down the stretch, just good enough to pull away.

Cavaliers 81, Nets 77

CLEVELAND - LeBron James had a nasty head cold. New Jersey had a bigger headache.

Cleveland's defense kept New Jersey's Big Three from getting into an offensive flow, and James sniffled his way to 21 points as the Cavaliers opened the Eastern Conference semifinals with a victory over the Nets.

The Cavaliers came in well-rested after their four-game sweep of Washington in the first round, and they needed every ounce of energy to hold off the Nets, who pulled to within 79-77 on Vince Carter's two free throws with 19.5 seconds left.

But James, who came down with a cold during Cleveland's time off, scored on a tough drive to put Cleveland up by four, and on New Jersey's final possession, the Cavaliers clamped down on defense.

There were hands in faces, bodies banging bodies and James' block of Bostjan Nachbar's shot with 7.9 seconds to go. It was fundamental, team defense, the kind Cavs coach Mike Brown has been preaching to his squad all season.

"We closed the game like we should," Cavs guard Sasha Pavlovic said. "We played defense as a team."

Cleveland held New Jersey to 37 percent shooting and outrebounded the Nets by 51-37.

Larry Hughes added 17 points and Pavlovic a playoff-career-high 15 for the Cavs, who will host Game 2 tomorrow night.

Vince Carter's 23 points led New Jersey, but Jason Kidd, who averaged a triple-double in the Nets' opening-round win over Toronto, had just seven on 2-of-11 shooting. Richard Jefferson, the third wheel in New Jersey's offensive machine, added 16 points.