SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Gary Neal pumped in 22 points and the San Antonio Spurs used a big third period Monday to overcome Phoenix 118-110 for their ninth straight win.
Down 54-53 at the half, San Antonio went on a 23-3 run in the third to put the game away and improve to 24-3 on the season, best in the NBA.
The Spurs had to hold off a late challenge from the Suns, who pulled to within single digits in the final frame but could get no closer.
Phoenix was playing without three players obtained in a trade with Orlando Saturday -- Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus all sat out.
Jared Dudley popped in 27 points as Phoenix lost for the fifth time in seven games.