SAN ANTONIO — David Robinson had an off day, but his supporting cast came through as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Phoenix Suns, 111-96, Saturday to narrow the Suns' lead to 2-1 in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Antoine Carr scored a playoff career-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting, Dale Ellis scored 20 points and Sean Elliott had 17 to lead the Spurs.
"This was a very big win for us,' Spur Coach John Lucas said. "We came into the game with a totally different attitude. We finally got Sean Elliott and Dale Ellis into it."
Ellis and Elliott were a combined 11 of 36 in the first two games of the series in Phoenix.
On Saturday, Ellis had 10 points during a second-quarter push that gave San Antonio a 65-55 halftime lead it never lost.
Elliott said Lucas urged him to be more aggressive. "Every time I touched the ball, he said I could do what I want," Elliott said.
"Sean and Dale did a great job," Carr said. "We just tried to get them the open shot so they could hit it."
Robinson scored 13 points on four-for-16 shooting, but Carr took up the slack inside, keeping San Antonio alive in the best-of-seven series that resumes today (12:30 p.m., Channel 4) at HemisFair Arena.
"When we went to him, he was converting for us," J.R. Reid said of Carr. "When we're playing on all cylinders, we're a tough team."
The Suns got within 73-68 midway through the third quarter, but the Spurs took an 88-78 lead into the fourth. Carr had 10 points in the third quarter.
"The key is to get the whole team playing together," said Robinson, limited to 28 minutes because of foul trouble. "It is the role players who win the game. Charles Barkley and I play our parts, but the other guys need to make plays in order to win."
Kevin Johnson led the Suns with 26 points. Barkley had 22 points and 14 rebounds. Spur point guard Avery Johnson had a career playoff-high 15 assists and added 12 points.
"The Spurs played emotional and did what they said they were going to do," Johnson said. "We want to win Game 4 and close them out in Game 5, but we're going to have to rebound with toughness."
The Spurs shot 49% from the field, the Suns 41%.