Suns survive late charge, outlast MagicDec 1, 2007 - 6:20 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
PHOENIX (Ticker) - The "Valley of the Sun" remains dry for the Orlando Magic.
Raja Bell scored 20 points and Amare Stoudemire added 19 and 10 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns completed a season series sweep of the Magic, 110-106, on Friday.
It was Phoenix's sixth consecutive home win in the series.
In their first meeting on November 10, Leandro Barbosa poured in a career-best 39 points while knocking down eight 3-pointers as the Suns posted a 106-96 victory.
Orlando All-Star forward Dwight Howard came up big once again, collecting 30 points, a season-best 23 boards and two blocks to outshine Stoudemire in the paint.
"I started off kind of slow but I think we did a great job of coming back," Howard said. "I don't mind their style but we need to start with a better effort. With a team like that, we can't fall behind early."
"He is smaller than Yao Ming," Stoudemire said. "He is a force down there, and they go to him every time. He gets all lobs and dunks. He dunks, dunks and dunks. I am a different center. I am a versatile center. I am more a little further type of player from the basket."
Phoenix maintained its 10-point advantage, 88-78, going into the final quarter, but Orlando began the period with an 11-3 surge that was capped by Hedo Turkoglu's 3-pointer to draw within 92-89 with 8:56 left.
"We let them back in the game," Bell said. "We need to iron out that bit of complacency when we are up 12 or 15. They are a good team and maybe just young enough for us to get away with that. Against a more seasoned team, we might not get away with that."
But the Suns used an impressive 10-2 spurt to create an 11-point edge just three minutes later. Barbosa scored five of his 17 points during that stretch.
However, J.J. Redick and Rashard Lewis capped an 11-2 run to help the Magic close within 104-102 at the 1:47 mark. After trading baskets, Steve Nash missed his first free throw this season on the second of two to open the door for Orlando.
"We don't have the killer instinct right now. We just can't put people away yet," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It was really great to see Raja back, he makes a world of difference to our team, but we are not totally sharp yet."
Lewis sank two from the line to make it an one-point game with 11 seconds remaining. But Phoenix failed to convert a pair of foul shots as Shawn Marion split two, giving the Magic one last chance.
But Lewis rushed a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Nash hit two free throws in the waning seconds to end Phoenix's brief two-game slide.
Turkoglu scored 25 points and Lewis added 18 for the Magic, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
"I thought they kicked our (butt)," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We showed some resiliency at the end. They got a little lazy at the end, but we didn't play anywhere well enough or anywhere near long enough. I will give our guys some credit for resiliency and hanging in, but I am not going to act like that was a great performance."
PHOENIX 110 FINAL
Nov 30 11:31 PM
PHOENIX 88 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 30 10:53 PM
PHOENIX 60 HALFTIME
Nov 30 10:07 PM
PHOENIX 31 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 30 9:36 PM
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