Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/25

Game 1: Monday, November 25th
Bucks81Final
Suns86
Game 2: Wednesday, February 26th
Suns118Final
Bucks112

Bucks 81

(6-7, 2-5 away)

Suns 86

(6-6, 5-2 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 25, 2002

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 22 25 10 2481
    PHX 25 22 14 2586

    Top Performers

    Mil: M. Redd 21 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    PHX: S. Marion 22 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Shorthanded Bucks can't keep up with Suns

    PHOENIX (AP) -- There isn't much finesse to rookie Amare Stoudemire's game yet, just boundless energy and raw power.

    Stoudemire had his first NBA double-double with career highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns beat the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks 86-81 on Monday night.

    ''He's going to be a very good basketball player,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl said. ''Offensively, he's got some learning to do, but he's got a great physical skill of rebounding the ball, first-class.''

    Shawn Marion had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Suns, who beat the Bucks in Phoenix for the 15th consecutive time. Milwaukee has lost 21 of 23 overall to the Suns.

    The Bucks were without the injured Ray Allen and Anthony Mason. Allen was placed on the injured list Monday after spraining his right ankle landing on Shaquille O'Neal's foot in Sunday's loss to the Lakers.

    Mason was sidelined with a left hamstring strain. A third starter, Tim Thomas, didn't play in the second half because of a sore back.

    Sam Cassell scored 22 for the Bucks. Michael Redd, starting in place of Allen, added 21 points and 11 rebounds.

    ''We were undermanned, but we've got to keep trying,'' Redd said. ''Guys are going to be out. It's really going to be a test for our bench now to step up.''

    The Suns took a 70-62 lead on Marion's 3-pointer with 6:50 to play.

    Stoudemire, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound first-round draft pick out of high school who turned 20 on Nov. 16, shot just 4-for-13 but was a force inside throughout. He grabbed his own miss, scored and was fouled for a three-point play that put Phoenix up 73-64 with 5:38 left. He also had a spectacular block of Marcus Haislip's dunk attempt in the final minute.

    ''I guess that's what I bring to the team -- energy and physical play,'' Stoudemire said. ''So I just try to bring it every night.''

    Stoudemire said he's been bothered by a sore hip the last couple of weeks, and that explains his recent struggles.

    ''I'm a warrior, so I just have to come out and play hard,'' he said. ''Now that my hip is kind of getting better, my game is getting better.''

    Redd's 3-pointer cut the lead to 80-75 with 2 minutes remaining. Kevin Ollie's drive to the basket wasn't even close under Stoudemire's defense, and Marion's breakaway layup made it 82-75 with 1:22 to play.

    Penny Hardaway, who scored seven of his nine points in the last 4:11, sealed it with an 18-footer that gave Phoenix an 84-77 lead with 55.5 seconds to play. The Suns won despite shooting 38 percent and missing 12 of 28 free throws.

    ''That's what we're doing right now. We just have to keep finding ways to pull games out,'' coach Frank Johnson said. ''It's never going to be easy for us.''

    The Suns, who snapped a three-game losing streak, outrebounded the Bucks 54-41, 19-6 on the offensive boards.

    ''That's probably why we lost the game,'' Karl said.

    Neither team led by more than seven in the first half, which ended in a 47-47 tie.

    Casey Jacobsen's baseline drive put Phoenix up 32-25 with 9:55 left in the half, but the Bucks used a 16-6 run to go up 41-38 on Ervin Johnson's tip-in 3:50 before halftime.

    Stoudemire, in his second NBA start for injured Tom Gugliotta, had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

    The Suns outscored the Bucks 14-10 in a cold-shooting third quarter to lead 61-57 going into the fourth. Phoenix was 7-for-22 and Milwaukee 5-for-20 in the third quarter.

    ''The third quarter slowed down and both teams got sloppy,'' Karl said. ''It's tough to overcome that when you're short-handed and on the road.''

    The Suns' Stephon Marbury had 11 points and 12 assists.

    Game notes


    Phoenix is 5-2 at home. ... The Bucks finished their three-game road trip to the West 1-2. ... Milwaukee is 0-10 at America West Arena. ... Allen can come off the injured list at any time because he wasn't replaced on the active roster. ... Stoudemire's previous highs were 12 points and eight rebounds. ... Phoenix shot 38 percent, Milwaukee 39 percent.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MIL
    PHX
    Points 81 86
    FGM-FGA 29-75 (.387) 34-90 (.378)
    3PM-3PA 4-20 (.200) 2-10 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 19-21 (.905) 16-28 (.571)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-41 19-54
    Assists 15 26
    Turnovers 15 14
    Steals 6 5
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 2 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 19 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Milwaukee
    Phoenix
    Michael Redd Redd
    Points: 21
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 22
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1