The San Antonio Spurs lost a shot at home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and saw a grimacing Manu Ginobili leave the court in pain early in the game.
Not exactly a beautiful ending to a powerful regular season.
"Now," coach Gregg Popovich said, "the fun starts."
Despite the 106-103 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night, the Spurs are the No. 1 seed in the West and early indications were that Ginobili's hyperextended elbow wasn't serious.
Popovich sat Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in a loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, but all three were in the starting lineup Wednesday.
"You can't predict anything and there's no reason to second guess and I don't think any one of us are going to do that," Duncan said. "Luckily, it's not serious and hopefully he can be ready to go once the playoff starts. You cross your fingers, you hope for that, and you move on."
The Spurs move on to a first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that seemed to want to face San Antonio.
"They sat their guys for the last three or four games," Duncan said. "They're trying to stay where they're at. Obviously, they've chosen their matchup and want to stick with it."
Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the Suns avoid being swept in the four-game regular season series.
The Spurs, at 61-21, finished a game behind Chicago for the best record in the NBA.
Had San Antonio and the Bulls finished tied and faced each other in the NBA finals, home-court advantage would have been determined by a random drawing because all other tiebreakers were equal.
Ginobili went down with 9:46 left in the first quarter. The star guard slid to the floor near the San Antonio free throw line, then the Suns' Grant Hill fell on top of him.
X-rays for a more serious injury were negative. An MRI was planned Thursday.
Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker sat out the Spurs' 102-93 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday but all three were in the starting lineup against Phoenix. Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes. Parker scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 25 minutes. Neither were on the court when the game ended.
"Tony's been under the weather. He got 25 minutes so I thought that was about enough for him," coach Gregg Popovich said. "We got Timmy about 30 so that was good. They needed to get a good run and they did so they could keep a rhythm. And then you like to win, but we didn't and that's the way it goes."
Channing Frye and Jared Dudley scored 17 apiece for the Suns.
"We've kind of had our fans on the emotional roller coaster this year," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said, "where we played well and then we struggled then we played well."
Phoenix failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years after a surprise run to the Western Conference finals a year ago, which included a second-round sweep of San Antonio.
"It's been a long year so to finish it off with a couple of victories was good," the Suns' Steve Nash said. "I think it was important for us too for our psyche. It's a good feeling amidst a lot of disappointment."
Nash, with one year left on his contract with Phoenix, said he has no desire to play elsewhere.
"This is my team," he said.
The Suns shot out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter Wednesday night and the Spurs never could catch them.
After shooting 65 percent in the first 12 minutes (17 of 26), the Suns made 20 percent (5 of 25) in the second to lead 61-53 at the break.
San Antonio cut it to 66-63 on Parker's short jumper three minutes into the second half, but an 11-1 Phoenix run made it 77-64 when Dudley made a pair of free throws with 5:01 to play in the period.
Down 85-74 after three, the Spurs came back to make it a free throw shootout down the stretch. Aaron Brooks sank two from the line to put Phoenix ahead 106-103 with 3.9 seconds to go. Gary Neal threw up an airball from the corner for San Antonio just before the buzzer.
NOTES: Hill became the seventh player in NBA history to average at least 13 points at age 38 or older. ... Ginobili missed two games this season, only one because of injury: March 28 against Portland because of a bruised left quad. ... Nash led the NBA in assists for the fifth time, joining John Stockton and Jason Kidd as the only players to do so. ... San Antonio had the best record in the West for the sixth time in franchise history — five of them with Duncan. ... The Suns won 40 games for the seventh straight season.