Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/11

Game 1: Wednesday, December 11th
Game 2: Sunday, February 16th

Suns 103

(11-10, 2-7 away)

Celtics 94

(14-7, 9-4 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 11, 2002

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 22 26 24 31103
    BOS 28 28 16 2294

    Top Performers

    PHX: S. Marion 32 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast

    Bos: A. Walker 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Stoudemire, Marion help Suns hold off Celtics

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

    Shawn Marion

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 94
    FGM-FGA 39-81 (.481) 39-91 (.429)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 9-33 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 22-33 (.667) 7-9 (.778)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-48 12-40
    Assists 19 18
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 3 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 25 (3/1)

    Top Performers

    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 32
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Antoine Walker Walker
    Points: 31
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0