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Suns get defensive in victory over Nets

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jason Kidd and Stephon Marbury, traded for each
other before last season, battled to a standstill. Marbury just had
a better supporting cast.

Shawn Marion scored 22 points, the last two from the foul line
with 9.1 seconds to play after rebounding the miss of Kidd's
desperation 3-pointer, as the Suns defeated the Nets 82-75 on
Wednesday night.

"We went out there and played defense, man,'' Marion said. "We
played like we should. We played together; we played as a team.
Everybody took open shots, and everybody knocked them down when
they had a chance.''

The Nets made only three field goals in the fourth quarter, one
reason they were unable to hold the two one-point leads they had in
the period. They were 26-for-88 in the game, tying a record for poor
shooting (29.5 percent) in America West Arena set by the Los
Angeles Clippers on Feb. 2, 2000.

"There's going to be days like this,'' New Jersey's Richard
Jefferson said. "It's not like we weren't getting good looks.''

Scott Williams had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Amare
Stoudemire had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns.

Marion also had 10 rebounds as the Suns came within one rebound
and one assist of having all five starters with double-doubles.
Penny Hardaway had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Stephon Marbury
had 12 points and nine assists.

"Steph did a good job of drawing the double-team,'' said
Williams, a backup until center Jake Tsakalidis went on the injured
list before the game. "He kicked it over to me and left me
wide-open jump shots, so I knocked a few down. I don't think I've
shot the ball 19 times in a game my entire career.''

Kidd, who called Phoenix "a one-horse town'' after the trade in
July 2001 and made an obscene gesture at the crowd after the Nets
loss here last season, was booed throughout the first half. He led
the Nets with 17 points, but was only 5-for-21 from the field.

Marbury was 4-for-21 and had one more turnover, but nothing as
glaring as Kidd's last one.

Kidd dribbled out of bounds off his leg with 45 seconds left,
leading to Marbury making a 12-foot jumper over Kidd for a 77-73
lead with 22 seconds to go.

"We were down two, and make or miss we were going to get the
ball back,'' Kidd said. "I was just probing. I actually was
bringing the ball back out, and size 14 kicked it into the front
row.''

Kidd also made two free throws with 20 seconds to go and stole
an in-bounds pass 6 seconds later. But Jefferson missed a jumper,
and Hardaway rebounded, making two free throws with 13.3 seconds
remaining.

Kenyon Martin had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Jefferson 11
points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which had won three of its
previous four.

"Defense was outstanding tonight,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson
said. "We were able to hold them to 29 percent, and we were able
to keep the game at our tempo.''

The Suns matched their biggest lead of the first half when they
went ahead 51-42 on Marbury's 3-pointer with 9:24 left in the third
quarter.

But Kidd responded with two 3-pointers during a 14-5 run by the
Nets, who tied it at 56 on a dunk by Jason Collins with 3:37 to
play.

Marion broke the tie with a dunk after a steal by Marbury, and
Phoenix took a 61-58 lead into the final quarter.

The Nets took their first lead since the final 1:14 of the first
quarter on a 16-footer by Kerry Kittles after a pass from Kidd, who
stole the ball from Marbury. It sent New Jersey to a 70-69 lead
with 4:10 left.

After Marion responded, Kidd sank a 20-footer for a 72-71 lead
with 2:16 to go.

But Hardaway, who had nine points in the fourth quarter, put
back Phoenix's third offensive rebound on the same possession, and
the Suns took a 73-72 lead they never relinquished.

"Our downfall right now is our rebounding,'' Nets coach Byron
Scott said.

There were nine lead changes in the first quarter, and no more
than four points separated the teams until Stoudemire shot Phoenix
into a 27-20 lead with a dunk and a 15-footer in the first 2:11 of
the second quarter.

Kidd sank a 3-pointer with 2:23 remaining to get the Nets within
37-36, but Phoenix held the lead.

Game notes
Kidd is the career leader in triple-doubles for the Nets
(nine) and Suns (25). ... The Nets had shot over 50 percent in
three of four games. Their 75 points is a season-low. ... The Suns
have won nine straight over the Nets in Phoenix.

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