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Marbury scores 11 of his 33 in final 5 minutes

HOUSTON (AP) -- Stephon Marbury made sure he walked off the court
satisfied.

Marbury tied his season high with 33 points and had five assists
to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 97-91 victory over the Houston
Rockets on Wednesday night. The performance came after Marbury
scored 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting in a 133-101 loss to
Sacramento on Sunday.

"After the last game I played, I was really disappointed,"
Marbury said. "My mindset was to come out and try to get guys open
shots and just be as aggressive as I could this game. At the end, I
was just trying to make plays and do whatever I could to help us
win."

Marbury scored 11 of his 33 points in the final 4:33 to help
Phoenix hold off Houston.

"I feel at the end of games, I am going to make big shots. I
think everybody thinks that. It's just that tonight I had it going
and our guys knew it and got me the ball."

Phoenix coach Scott Skiles was impressed with the way Marbury
and the Suns played.

"Steph is having a very good year for us," Skiles said. "He
came up big for us down the stretch. He was really aggressive going
to the basket. But it wasn't just him. I think all of our guys were
a little more aggressive tonight than we have been lately."

Cuttino Mobley led the Rockets with 33 points, but Dan Majerle
guarded him in the fourth quarter and limited him to 2-of-8
shooting from the field in the period.

"Dan did a great job for us," Skiles said. "Cuttino is a
tough cover."

Majerle, who missed the Sacramento game with the flu, said he
had help Wednesday night.

"We double-teamed (Mobley) a lot in the fourth quarter and we
hit some big shots," Majerle said. "That was the difference."

Houston ended a 15-game losing streak by beating Milwaukee on
Saturday and was led 86-85 with 2:19 to play Wednesday before
Marbury scored eight of the Suns' final 12 points.

"Stephon played a heck of a game," Mobley said. "He was the
key for them. They hit some big shots at the end -- (Rodney) Rogers,
Bo Outlaw, they all did a good job of keeping the ball alive."

The Rockets also lamented a 3-pointer by Rogers with 50 seconds
to play that gave Phoenix a 92-86 lead.

"They made some big plays, especially Rogers," coach Rudy
Tomjanovich said. "They swung the ball around and we were trying
to get the ball out of Marbury's hands. When we rotated, it left
someone open. But we felt if we didn't do that, Marbury was going
to pick us apart."

Suns forward Shawn Marion left in the third quarter with a cut
near his left eye that required six stitches to close. He returned
to the bench in the fourth quarter, but did not play. He had 12
points and two rebounds and said afterward he would be ready to
play the next game.

Marion and Jake Voskuhl each scored six points in the third
quarter as the Suns twice opened up eight-point leads. Mobley
scored 16 in the quarter to keep the Rockets in it, but Phoenix
still led 71-67 at the end of the period.

Game notes
Suns guard Tony Delk left in the first quarter with a right
knee contusion and didn't return. He is listed as day-to-day. ...
Houston reserve Walt Williams missed the game with flu-like
symptoms. He is day-to-day. ... Terence Morris got the first start
of his career for Houston. ... Rockets starting forward Kenny
Thomas returned after missing three games with a sore groin. ...
The Suns have won their first game after Christmas for 13 straight
years -- not counting the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. The last
time they lost their first game after Christmas was a 112-110
defeat to Sacramento in the 1987-88 season.