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Suns get boost from bench in win over Timberwolves

Feb 24, 2007 - 6:44 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Shawn Marion and the bench stole the spotlight away from Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire for at least one game.

Marion had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns posted a 116-104 victory over the sliding Minnesota Timberwolves.

Reserves Leandro Barbosa and James Jones combined for 40 points, including 15 during a game-changing second quarter for the Suns, who had their 17-game winning streak snapped with a 121-112 loss to the Timberwolves on January 29.

"You always want to beat a team that beat you," said Suns guard Raja Bell, who had 10 points and five assists. "They handled us pretty well last time. We've also struggled recently since the (All-Star) break and we just wanted to string some wins together and get the ball rolling in the right direction."

Marion shot 12-of-17 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from the arc, added four assists and three critical blocks down the stretch when the Timberwolves attempted to rally.

"I thought Shawn Marion in that last quarter erased everything right when they were ready to come back," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He had three blocks and a couple of dunks on the other end, and he was huge all night. ... That is scary what he did tonight. He guarded (Kevin) Garnett real well and did a lot of good things."

Behind eight points apiece from Garnett and Ricky Davis, Minnesota led, 30-25, after one period. But Phoenix converted 15-of-25 shots (60 percent) in the next 12 minutes, including two 3-pointers each by Barbosa and Jones, to take a 64-52 edge at the break.

The Suns led comfortably in the second half and a pair of 3-pointers by Barbosa in the final 83 seconds of the game put away the Timberwolves.

"(Barbosa) threw some daggers in," D'Antoni said. "He is starting to be able to do that consistently. Toward the end he hit some threes that just put them away."

Barbosa finished 9-of-16 from the floor and converted six shots from the arc for the second straight game.

Stoudemire had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Nash added 15 assists for the Suns, who opened a four-game road trip with their third straight win.

"We wanted to come in here and definitely get a win," Marion said. "This is the first game of the road trip and we wanted to start off good. We came out here and did what we had to do and got a good win."

Garnett finished with 28 points and 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost 14 of their last 19 games.

"I feel that we should have slowed the pace down a little bit," Garnett said. "They had the advantage, they play with that pace every night. We play a different style night in and night out, that's to our advantage. I felt like when we beat them we had a better grip on the pace and we grabbed the momentum slowly.

"We have to stop this bleeding. The trade deadline's over and nobody's coming in here with a cape on and make things happen. The responsibility falls back on us as always."

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