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Stoudemire, Marion help Suns hold off Celtics

12/12/2002

BOSTON (AP) -- With a surplus of free throw attempts, the Phoenix Suns gained a rare road victory.

Shawn Marion had 32 points and 11 rebounds and Amare Stoudemire
added 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Suns to just their
second road victory of the season, 103-94 over the Boston Celtics
on Wednesday night.

The Suns, ranked 28th in free throw attempts, outshot Boston
33-9 at the line.

"I thought the fact that we got to the line only nine times
really hurt us,'' Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "I thought we
got outplayed in just about every phase of the game.''

Stoudemire has 38 points and 26 rebounds in the last two games
for the Suns, who began the night with the second-worst road record
in the Western Conference.

"So it is possible for us to win on the road,'' Suns coach
Frank Johnson said. "Well, it certainly took all 48 minutes for us
to do that. We had runs, they had runs, but we were finally able to
pull away.''

Antoine Walker tied a season-high of 31 points for Boston, while
Paul Pierce was injured when he was hit by Stoudemire on a layup
and was held to 16 points.

Marion scored four points in a 6-0 run that turned an 86-85 lead
into a seven-point advantage with 2:44 left. Pierce drew the
Celtics to 92-87 with a short jump shot, but the Celtics would get
no closer as Marion hit a pair of key baskets to seal the victory.

Pierce left the game with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter
after he was hammered on a drive to the basket by Stoudemire with
no foul called. Pierce lost part of his two front teeth and
suffered facial abrasions before being helped into the locker room.

While Pierce was down, O'Brien chased down referee Scott Wall at
halfcourt and had to be restrained by assistant coach Lester Connor
before being ejected by Wall. Walker followed with a technical
before teammates ushered him away from the officials.

"We were aggressive tonight, but you would have to talk to the
guys in stripes about that,'' Walker said. "The tough part was
that it was a winnable game, but we missed shots at the end of the
game that we usually make.''

After the ejection, the Suns rattled off seven straight points
capped off by a layup by Bo Outlaw to take a 61-58 lead.

Former Celtic Joe Johnson added a season-high 19 points and
seven rebounds off the bench and Stephon Marbury scored 18 for
Phoenix. Johnson was making his first appearance against Boston
since being traded last season in a package deal for Rodney Rogers
and Tony Delk.

"It was nothing personal, just business,'' Johnson said. "The
coaching staff had confidence in me down the stretch and I didn't
let them down.''

After trailing 52-41, Stoudemire scored seven straight points
for the Suns, cutting Boston's lead to 56-48 at halftime.

The Celtics lost for only the third time in 11 games. The loss
snapped a three-game winning streak against Phoenix.

Game notes
Phoenix concludes its Eastern Conference road swing on
Friday in Philadelphia and Saturday against Atlanta. ... Vin Baker
made his first start of the season for the Celtics. He was
replacing Tony Battie, who was suspended for one game after kicking
a ball at referee Mark Wunderlich. ... The Suns have the fourth
best all-time NBA record (1520-1257) behind Los Angeles, Boston and
San Antonio.