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Marion, Nash help Suns rally past Nuggets

Mar 31, 2007 - 6:11 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- With his Phoenix Suns teammates trailing by a double-digit margin, Shawn Marion decided to take over.

Marion scored 22 of his 33 points in the second half as the Suns rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets, 125-108.

Raja Bell and reserve Leandro Barbosa each had 19 points and current two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash added 18 and 11 assists for Phoenix (54-18), which maintained its two-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs (52-20) for the second best record in the Western Conference. San Antonio defeated Utah, 102-93, on Friday.

Trailing, 51-33, with 7:15 left in the second quarter after a layup by Nuggets guard Allen Iverson, the Suns went to work and cut their deficit to 65-60 at halftime.

"They adjusted to what we were doing, and just started playing better," Iverson said. "They made their run on their own court.

"We thought that we would be able to handle it after they went on that run to be down five at halftime. They still had that momentum after the half."

After a dunk by Carmelo Anthony with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter gave the Nuggets a 73-68 lead, the Suns ripped off a 17-2 burst, capped by an eight-foot runner by Marion to give the Pacific Division champions an 85-75 lead.

"We went back to what we do well," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That is how we are and we think we can win a championship that way."

"I think we came with a lot of energy in the second half," Barbosa added. "That was the important thing that coach was looking for and we did that."

Marion had eight points in the run and connected on 13-of-17 shots overall. It was the first time in 15 games the 2007 All-Star scored 20-plus points in a contest.

"The points were long over do," Marion said. "You can't score without the ball. It is not my fault. I am doing what I can. Everybody wants to make a big hoopla about me not scoring; you can't score without getting the shots."

Amare Stoudemire scored 12 points and James Jones added 10 off the bench for Phoenix, which shot 55 percent (49-of-89) and has beaten Denver 15 of the last 19 meetings here.

"I think they're a great team," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "They have pride, and at halftime they realized they were in a fight.

"It seemed like we didn't have any energy in the third quarter. They came out and ran by us and got their rhythm of the game going."

Anthony scored 32 points and grabbed 10 boards and Iverson added 26 points for the Nuggets (35-36), who are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for seventh place in the West standings.

"We started off pretty good and at first they were a little fatigued from last night," Anthony said. "In the second half I don't know what got into them or what got into us."

Nene had 18 points and nine rebounds and Marcus Camby added 14 and 13 for Denver, which shot 48 percent (40-of-84) after shooting 61 percent in the first quarter.

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