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Stoudemire, Suns set franchise-record winning streak

Dec 20, 2006 - 5:55 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- While Amare Stoudemire is returning to form, the Phoenix Suns are scorching hot.

Stoudemire had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Steve Nash added 10 and 15 assists as the Suns set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive win, 115-98, over the Toronto Raptors.

Shawn Marion collected 17 points and six rebounds for Phoenix, which shot 51 percent (42-of-82) from the field to eclipse the team record set from December 1-30, 1992, by a squad that reached the 1993 NBA Finals.

"We're really happy with 15 wins. (The team is) excited and they should be," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I know it's something that has never been done in 37 years, and we are still on the streak."

On Wednesday, Phoenix will play at Denver, which just acquired four-time scoring champion Allen Iverson.

"We want to take care of it (Wednesday)," D'Antoni said. "We will try to get to Denver, there is a snowstorm up there, but we will try to get up there, try to keep this thing going."

The Suns' remarkable winning streak is the longest since the Los Angeles Lakers ripped off 19 in a row from February 4-March 13, 2000.

"I don't know, what does it really mean? Not much," Nash said. "I think it is fun and I think it's a good accomplishment, and we should be proud of ourselves, but at the same time, we should realize that it probably doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot either."

Recovering from microfracture surgery, the 6-10 Stoudemire is returning to his former All-Star form, combining strength with uncanny quickness and leaping ability for a man his size. He is averaging 21.2 points and 8.9 rebounds in 10 games this month.

"I feel great right now. Mentally I feel great, physically I feel great, still just trying to get better defensively, that's my only test," Stoudemire said. "My defense is just mediocre, but it definitely needs to improve for us to win a championship, but I feel great, I feel like my old self."

He was 11-of-14 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line.

Nash was 3-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the arc but controlled the game by attacking the paint and setting up his teammates for easy baskets.

However, despite setting a franchise mark, Nash expected the Suns to perform well.

"We are a good team and we should expect a lot out of ourselves, and anything less than what we are doing right now, against the competition we've played, I think would be a disappointment," Nash said.

The Suns used a 17-0 run in the third quarter, capped by Marion's 3-pointer, to make it 75-50 with 5:54 left in the period.

T.J Ford had 19 points and nine assists for the Raptors, who shot 40 percent (38-of-95).

"They went in and emphasized to try and create some separation, and that's what they came out and did, stuck to their game plan and went up 20 points," Ford said. "We weren't able to bounce back from that. It was a tough night, but they didn't win 15 games in a row for nothing."

Rookie Jorge Garbajosa left the game with a strained right calf with 5:55 left in the second quarter and did not return to the game.

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