PHOENIX (AP) -- If Jake Tsakilidis could have a few more nights
like this, Stephon Marbury would find life in Phoenix so much
The 7-foot-2 center was on the receiving end of one pass after
another from Marbury in the Suns' 102-96 victory over the Cleveland
Cavaliers on Monday night.
"It's fun when you score a couple of dunks. You feel different,
you feel better," Tsakilidis said. "If in the beginning of the
game you score easy baskets, you feel good."
Tsakilidis scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine
rebounds, and was the big reason Marbury had a season-high 14
assists. Marbury's game is penetration, and when he draws the
double-team, the center needs to be ready for a pass. That has
given Tsakilidis trouble.
"Jake was out there ballin' tonight. Tonight he did an
unbelievable ball as far as making sure he got open when guys
stepped up on me," Marbury said. "You've got to start
Coach Frank Johnson knows Tsakilidis remains very much a work in
"Every team will aggressively double-team Steph," Johnson
said. "Basically they said, `Let's see if Tsakilidis can beat
Dan Majerle, in the final weeks of his long NBA career, sank two
3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
"It felt like old times," Majerle said.
Shawn Marion scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for
Phoenix. He sank consecutive jumpers from 17 and 20 feet to put the
Suns in control 96-89 with 1:11 to play. Marbury scored 20.
Andre Miller had 21 points and 17 assists for the Cavaliers, who
fell to 1-11 against the Pacific Division, 0-6 on the road. Ricky
Davis scored 23, while Wesley Person and Michael Doleac added 14
apiece for the Cavs.
Person's 3-pointer tied it for Cleveland at 84 with four minutes
to play, then Majerle sank a 3 as the shot clock expired to put
Phoenix up for good 87-84 with 3:30 remaining. Joe Johnson's
12-footer from the baseline gave the Suns an 89-84 lead with 2:50
Miller scored and was fouled by Majerle, then Marbury drew a
technical for complaining about the call. Person missed the
technical free throw, then Miller completed the three-point play to
cut Phoenix's lead to 89-87 with 2:37 to play.
Majerle's 3-pointer put the Suns ahead 92-87 with two minutes
left. He sealed it with two free throws with 22.9 seconds
"We had a chance to win the ballgame," Cleveland coach John
Lucas said. "Wes' miss after the technical didn't get it down to
one, then Majerle's '3' was a killer. But I really liked the
Marion scored 14 and Tskalidis 10 in the first quarter, when the
Suns led by as many as 12. Marbury had eight assists in the
quarter, most of them passes to Tsakilidis.
Doleac replaced injured Zydrunas Ilgauskas and led a Cleveland
rally. Doleac's third field goal capped a 9-0 run that cut the
Suns' lead to 32-28 with 10:52 left in the first half.
But the Suns scored the next nine to go up 41-28 on Majerle's
3-pointer 6:03 before halftime. Consecutive stuffs by Tsakilidis
gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the half, 45-30, with 2:28
The Cavaliers scored the first 10 points of the second half to
take their first lead, 48-47, on Chris Mihm's inside hook.
Tsakilidis' previous career best was 17 points. ... After
not playing each other all season, the Suns and Cavaliers meet
twice in eight days. ... Some 8,000 Marion bobblehead dolls were
handed out before the game. ... Ilgauskas left with 2:09 remaining
in the first quarter with lower back spasms and did not return. ...
Phoenix has won two in a row for only the second time since Jan. 3.
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