Nash, Marion spark Suns' ninth straight winJan 14, 2007 - 6:22 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- In their ninth straight win, the Phoenix Suns featured Steve Nash looking for his shot and Shawn Marion looking like a member of the All-Defensive Team.
Nash scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half and Marion made a big block in the final minute as the Suns held off the determined Orlando Magic for a 107-101 victory.
Boris Diaw had 19 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Suns, who are one win shy of their second double-digit winning streak of the season. They won 15 in a row from November 20-December 19.
"We really want to keep this up. Duh," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I am really happy with the chemistry and how hard they are playing and the defense."
Phoenix scored 30 points in each of the first three quarters but stumbled a bit down the stretch against the Southeast Division's best team, managing just one basket over the final seven minutes.
"We are playing good right now but we know we still have some things we have to work on," Diaw said. "We are not just happy because we win, we want to get better every night."
"They are pretty good team and they are tough," Nash said. "They have a lot of length in there. We didn't make a lot of buckets done at the end, but we scrapped and that was a nice way to win."
A drive by Leandro Barbosa gave Phoenix a 101-92 lead with 7:21 to go. Baskets by Grant Hill and Dwight Howard sandwiched a free throw by Diaw and a jumper by Hedo Turkoglu cut the deficit to 102-98 with 4:25 to play.
Diaw sank a jumper, but Jameer Nelson - who scored 26 points - drained a 3-pointer that made it a one-possession game with 2:34 remaining. However, Orlando did not score again.
Both teams had trouble with their offense until Hill got loose in the lane for a pull-up jumper with 30 seconds left. But Marion came off his man and blocked the shot from behind, and Nash made 3-of-4 free throws to seal it.
"I was just trying to be active,," Marion said. "I just read it and I was able to get the block."
"We came up with some big plays at the end," D'Antoni said. "Shawn had a huge block on one of the last plays."
In Friday's convincing win over Cleveland, Nash came out passing, handing out 14 of his season-high 21 assists in the first half.
One night later, he was looking for his shot as he scored 17 points to help Phoenix open a 60-49 lead. The Suns never trailed thereafter.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and take what is there," Nash said. "If they are playing me to pass, I will shoot and if I am open I'll shoot. If they are playing me hard, I will drive and try to draw to and create an advantage for someone."
Marion had 16 points and five steals, Raja Bell added 15 points and Barbosa 12 for the Suns, who shot 53 percent (43-of-81) from the field and held a 43-38 edge on the glass.
Turkoglu scored 18 points and Keyon Dooling added 13 off the bench for the Magic (22-16), who shot 46 percent (38-of-82) and have dropped two in a row following a five-game winning streak.
The anticipated battel between young big men Amare Stoudemire of Phoenix and Dwight Howard of Orlando never materialized. The foul-plagued Stoudemire had 12 points and 10 boards and Howard managed 10 and five, adding four blocks.
"We tried to go to Dwight a couple of times in the post and one of the times was a three-second call," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "It was a failure to execute."
Nelson scored 16 points in the third quarter, but the Magic were able to shave just four points off the deficit and entered the final period trailing, 90-83.
"I just got more aggressive," Nelson said. "It was one of those nights when you shoot the ball and it goes in. To be down 20 to the best team in the NBA and come back like that is saying something about our team. Regardless of stats and who did what, as a team it shows character."
PHOENIX 107 FINAL
Jan 13 11:25 PM
PHOENIX 90 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 13 10:51 PM
PHOENIX 60 HALFTIME
Jan 13 10:08 PM
PHOENIX 30 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 13 9:34 PM
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