for this game

Suns burn Pacers behind Stoudemire, Nash

Dec 5, 2007 - 4:36 AM By Gary Knight PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns got 42 points and 13 rebounds from Amare Stoudemire and clutch plays down the stretch from Steve Nash to put away the pesky Indiana Pacers, 121-117 on Tuesday.

Nash, who finished with 18 points and 17 assists, scored five points in the final 1:15 to lead the Suns to their 11th win in their last 13 games.

"We got a lot to be thankful for," Nash said. "We just have to keep working and try not to have so many mental lapses. Sometimes, we're scoring easily and we take for granted, if you let up for a minute, teams can come back on you in this league. Everyone's talented."

Indiana was led by Jermaine O'Neal's 30 points and 11 rebounds. O'Neal's had 10 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough. Mike Dunleavy added 22 points and Jamal Tinsley 19 and 12 assists for the Pacers.

"We didn't play the defense we know we can play in the first half," O'Neal said. "Obviously, Phoenix is one of the better teams offensively and they keep you on your heels."

After being down by as many as 15 points, Indiana fought back to take a fourth quarter lead. Mike Dunleavy hit a jumper with 8:40 remaining to give the Pacers a 100-98 edge. It was Indiana's first lead since it was 9-8 in the first quarter.

"We had about two or three games out there. We played well, then they played well, then we played well," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It ended up on a good note. We're struggling to play 48 minutes right now, but they're a good team and to come to their home court and get a win is good any way you look at it."

The Pacers took a 112-107 lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Jamaal Tinsley and Dunleavy with 3:45 left, but they couldn't hold off the high scoring Suns.

After a basket by Tinsley with 1:15 to play gave Indiana a 117-113 lead, Nash hit two free throws and then a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Phoenix the lead for good.

"Nash made some big shots." O'Neal said. "He's one of the toughest people to guard. He's the heart and engine of this team. He probes the ball so well, finds guys for open threes, and found Amare for some easy lay ups and dunks tonight. He puts your defense in quite a predicament."

Stoudemire was 15-of-24 from the field and 12-of-13 from the line. He also had a key defensive play, forcing Dunleavy into a wild turnaround as the shot clock ran out that led to Nash's go-ahead 3-pointer.

"We're still getting better as a group," Stoudemire said. "I'm still getting better as an individual as well, offensively and defensively. This team has a lot of potential. We're a confident team, sometimes too confident. We let teams fight back because we know we can get the win and that hurts us sometimes. When we're up 15, we need to close teams out."

The game figured to be high scoring and did not disappoint. The Suns entered the game averaging 108.4 points per game, second in the league, while the Pacers were ninth at 102.2.

"I felt real good," Stoudemire said. "I just played my game and took whatever the defense gave me, whether it was a jump shot or an easy lay up."

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