SAN ANTONIO - It would be almost impossible to replicate the feeling the Phoenix Suns had when they last won at AT&T Center, exorcising demons with a 2010 playoff sweep of the despised San Antonio Spurs.
The way the Suns won Wednesday night is about as close as a last-place team could get. They refused to die against the league's best team. They never wavered in a building that had not experienced defeat since Nov. 19. They dropped the jaws of anyone who has suffered their season of shortcomings.
The Suns had no business boarding a plane with a stunning 105-101 victory Wednesday night at San Antonio.
They were playing overtime games on consecutive nights against a team with an 18-game home winning streak. They entered the fourth quarter trailing by 10 after rallying to win twice all season on the road. They were playing the Spurs, having previously gone 2-11 in the second games of back-to-back sets this season.
And most improbable of all, Manu Ginobili was shooting a free throw with 3.7 seconds remaining and a Spurs three-point lead with no Suns time outs remaining. That is when Jermaine O'Neal, who posted his first 20-point, 10-rebound effort since before the Suns' last win in San Antonio, did his best imitation of his favorite quarterback, Troy Aikman.
O'Neal grabbed a Ginobili miss and hit Wes Johnson downcourt after Johnson streaked untouched from the free throw lane to the opposite wing.
Johnson pivoted as he caught the ball and made the tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
It might not have won a game like he did with a buzzer-beater at Missouri in his first Big 12 game for Iowa State but it was more amazing, considering how he had been buried on the bench, how awful the Suns' season has been and how it set up the Suns for a second overtime wins in two nights. They are Phoenix's first consecutive wins since mid-December.
"Because of the circumstances of the season and they're the No. 1 team in the league, that's at the top," said Johnson, who also effectively defended Tony Parker down the stretch. "I think this is going to be a character builder for us. It shows that we're growing."
On the second night of a back-to-back set against a team that had rested since winning at Phoenix without Tony Parker, the Suns showed some gritty road resolve to pull off the miraculous regulation finish and keep the Spurs to 0-for-10 shooting in overtime. The Suns did not score until the final 65 seconds of overtime but got follows from the center tandem of Marcin Gortat and O'Neal to win. O'Neal's 22-point, 13-rebound game marked his fourth double-double in seven games but was his best because the 34-year-old outdueled his elder, Duncan at both ends.
"If you're going to play the Spurs, you've got to be ready to play against him," said O'Neal, who had a 13-point fourth quarter. "He tends to elevate your game."
The Suns (20-39) entered the fourth quarter trailing 77-67 and still trailed by five with 49 seconds to go but Marcus Morris and Johnson each made a three in the final 35 seconds of regulation after the Suns had made 1 of 9 attempts all game.
• Who: Hawks at Suns
• When: 7 p.m. Friday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1490-AM, 104.9-FM