SAN ANTONIO - Scott Williams has been a pain in the neck at times for the Spurs, as he has been effective in hitting mid-range shots and solid in defending superstar Tim Duncan.
Now, Williams has a pain in the neck.
Williams caught an elbow in the neck from the Spurs’ Kevin Willis. Williams slumped to floor and stayed there for several minutes before he was helped to the locker room. He suffered a cervical sprain, was listed as out for the game, then he returned briefly in the second half.
Willis was ejected.
Spurs fans booed loudly, with some calling Williams a faker.
Said Williams, "I don't care if you're 6-10 or 5-2, if you get hit with a shot like that, it's going to hurt."
All in all, he should be OK for the next game.
"I just have a stiff neck."
You might say Suns coach Frank Johnson is swollen with pride over his team's fine season.
Actually, he's just swollen. Johnson repeatedly said, "No pictures" to a reporter with a camera before the game. The reason: His face is badly swollen because of an apparent allergic reaction to whatever is being carried in the warm spring air here.
The problem started after he went for a walk Friday night, after the Suns arrived in town.
Johnson said he was concerned enough to start calling doctors Friday night.
"It really hit me in the morning," he said.
As Stephon Marbury was struggling with his shot in the first half, a Spurs fan taunted him, saying, “Keep shooting, Stephon.”
Marbury smiled at the fan and made a shooting motion with his right hand.
“I told him, ‘Yeah (I'm missing them) but I can very easily go 10 for the next 10,” Marbury said. “I told him he didn't have to worry about me not shooting.”
The Suns' play on defense in Game 1 was brilliant. But they were far from perfect on offense.
They shot poorly early, though everyone but Marbury came around in the end.
Their most consistent problem was dribbling down the shot clock until the final seconds, which resulted in low-percentage tries or shot-clock violations.
"We've got to go over that in practice," said Penny Hardaway.
Counting the regular season, the Suns now are 4-1 vs. the Spurs, who were the NBA's No. 1 team this year.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who recently acknowledged the Suns "have given us the most trouble" among all NBA teams, now has the task of trying to soothe his players so that they're not psyched out by their playoff opponents.
"We competed well. Now we have to get our emotion back up for Monday (and Game 2).
"These series are a long process. We have to come back Monday and forget about this adversity.
"I'm happy we competed well. It just didn't work."