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Marion, Nash help Suns overwhelm Sonics

Jan 10, 2007 - 6:08 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- While Steve Nash continued to thrive, Shawn Marion was the most valuable player against the Seattle SuperSonics.

Marion had 29 points and 15 rebounds and Nash collected 27 and 11 assists as the Phoenix Suns raced to a 113-102 victory over the SuperSonics for their seventh straight win.

Known for their penchant to play fast and shoot the ball early in the shot clock, the Suns shot a blistering 58 percent (46-of-80) from the field, mostly on wide-open 3-pointers and transition layups.

"The only thing that scared me was we shot 60 percent in the first half and we were down two," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I asked the team do we have to shoot 100 to win? Then we continued to shoot about that pace then we got some stops. The start of the third quarter we got three or four stops."

However, D'Antoni pointed out that Seattle is comfortable playing Phoenix's up-tempo style.

"(Seattle) runs and plays our style," D'Antoni said. "They play better that way and that is why we have good battles against Seattle because they are in our rhythm too. That is why we had 151-149 game last year. It leads to an exciting game."

Entering Tuesday's contest averaging 19.9 points and 11.0 assists, Nash can become the first player to finish with season averages of 20 points and 11 assists since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Kevin Johnson both accomplished the feat in 1989-1990.

On Tuesday, Marion capitalized on his teammate's unselfish play. The 6-7 forward was 11-of-22 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the arc, torturing Seattle with his ability to score from anywhere on the court.

"The defense picked up, we started talking to each other better and started playing Suns basketball," Marion said. "We were attacking the basket, hitting open shots and stopping them."

Trailing, 60-58, entering the third quarter, the Suns went on a 12-2 run to start the period, capped by Marion's shot from the arc to make it 70-62 with 9:21 remaining. Phoenix cruised the rest of the way.

"I think we realized that it wasn't good enough in the first half and we really played with the energy that was necessary," Nash said. "We didn't place enough importance on what we were doing in the first half. It was a wake-up call to be down two and we picked it up at the half."

Along with stellar performances by their stars, the Suns got a contribution from their bench. Forwards Kurt Thomas and James Jones combined for 16 points.

"The bench - James and Kurt - picked it up when we really weren't as energetic as we should be," Nash said. "That is a sign when teams find ways to get someone going and have the depth to win on nights when they really don't have their 'A' game."

Nick Collison recorded career highs with 29 points and 21 rebounds for Seattle, which shot 45 percent (42-of-94) in absorbing its fifth straight loss.

"It was three times what my average is statistically," Collison said. "It was a good game personally, but you have only one guy have a great game like that and we still lose by 15 and it doesn't feel that good right now. We have lost 12 in a row on the road and that is the reality of were we are at."

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