Barkley’s Extra Work Ruins Spurs : Pro basketball: After staying late after Game 1 to shoot, he makes 12 of 18 shots and scores 35 points to lead Suns to a 109-103 victory.

From Associated Press

Charles Barkley’s personal shootaround paid off.

After making five of 21 shots in the first game of the San Antonio-Phoenix Western Conference semifinal, Barkley spent 20 minutes on the Suns’ practice court.

The results of the extra work showed Thursday night, when he made 12 of 18 shots and scored 35 points during a 109-103 victory that sent the Suns on to San Antonio with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Barkley sat out the first 8 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, and the Suns opened a 94-78 lead without him. But reserve guard Vinny Del Negro of the Spurs scored the first nine points of an 11-2 run with a three-point play, a layup and two jumpers while Phoenix missed seven consecutive shots.


Kevin Johnson broke the spell with 2:03 to play, driving for a layup that made it 98-89, and the Suns weathered San Antonio’s rally at the free-throw line.

David Robinson led the Spurs with 27 points and Del Negro, scoreless at halftime, had 19.

Dan Majerle had 18 points for the Suns, and Johnson added 15 points and 12 assists. Johnson scored 11 points during the fourth quarter.

Robinson and Barkley had 10 rebounds each, but the Spurs outrebounded the Suns, 44-32, the second lopsided margin in a row. Phoenix’s 36 rebounds in the first game had been a team playoff low.

The Suns, who swept the Spurs last season while Robinson was sidelined because of thumb surgery, led at halftime, 52-41, and increased their advantage to 78-65 after three quarters.

Barkley, who had made 43.8% in six previous playoff games, made six of seven shots during the first period and scored 14 points.

The Suns led from the opening basket, a turnaround jumper by Barkley, and the game was tied only once, at 8-8.


Barkley scored 10 points during the final 7:24 of the first quarter, boosting the Suns to a 25-18 lead.