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Stoudemire leads Suns past SuperSonics

Jan 4, 2008 - 7:29 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire collected 34 points and 11 rebounds to lift the Phoenix Suns to their fourth straight win, a 104-96 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Thursday.

Steve Nash had 17 points and 10 assists and Shawn Marion added 11 and 14 boards to help the Suns earn their third home win in a row over the SuperSonics.

Former Suns big man Kurt Thomas clearly had no answer for Stoudemire, who connected on 11-of-19 shots and made 11-of-15 free throws.

"It was definitely a good rematch," Stoudemire said. "I got the best of him. Me and Kurt are great friends, and it was fun playing against him."

After watching its 20-point first-half lead erased, Seattle drew within 62-61 on rookie Kevin Durant's 16-foot jumper with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

"We knew after the first quarter, teams will make their runs, so we just had to be more aggressive," Durant said. "I thought they were more aggressive than we were. They played on top of us and put pressure on us, but we have got to learn how respond to situations like that."

Phoenix was able to regroup and extend its lead to 72-63 behind a 10-2 run to close out the third, with Leandro Barbosa scoring six of his 16 points during the spurt.

Durant poured in six straight points and fellow rookie Jeff Green tipped in an offensive rebound as Seattle cut the deficit to 98-94 at the 1:24 mark.

The 19-year-old Durant was making his return after missing one game with an injured finger. He collected 28 points and seven boards.

However, Raja Bell and Stoudemire came up with key plays down the stretch to hand Seattle its sixth setback in eight games.

"I thought our defense and energy was great and what we've been talking about. The last three quarters were great," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Ending up the game, we get 104, even scoring 13 in the first quarter."

Earl Watson scored 20 points and Thomas contributed 14 and 12 rebounds for the Sonics, who shot just 38 percent (40-of-103) from the floor.

Seattle came out hitting on all cylinders in this one, jumping out to a commanding 33-13 edge after the first quarter before things started going downhill.

"Honestly, we can sit here and dwell on it, make all these assumptions and stuff," Marion said. "At the end of the day, we did what we had to do in the second quarter and the rest of the game to win the game."

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