LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was quite a night in the paint for the
Phoenix Suns, who scored 60 points inside and caused the entire
starting frontcourt for the Los Angeles Clippers to foul out.
Stephon Marbury had 19 points and 15 assists and reserve guard
Casey Jacobsen scored eight of his 17 points in the final 6:22 --
all from in close -- as the Suns ended a three-game losing streak
with a 98-92 victory Friday night.
"I don't think it was a case of them not giving me much
respect. Maybe they gave everybody else too much," Jacobsen said.
"I just took advantage of the situation playing with Shawn
(Marion) and Steph.
"You've got to double those guys, and my job is to score when
those guys do get double-teamed. I like making 3-pointers because
they're game-changing plays, but I'd rather go to the rack and
finish strong to the basket. To me, it's more enjoyable -- and I
like the contact, too," Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen gave Phoenix the lead for good, 83-81, on a left-handed
layup with 5:21 left, and Marbury set him up for a slam dunk off
after a turnover at midcourt by Wang ZhiZhi. The rookie from
Stanford then drove the lane for another layup and got another one
with 37 seconds left.
"I think it surprised us a little bit with him going to the
basket," Clippers guard Eric Piatkowski said. "A lot of the guys
thought he was more of just a spot-up shooter, but he made some
nice moves going to the basket."
The Clippers lost for the 13th time in 18 games and tied a
season high with 25 turnovers, the ninth time this season that
they've had at least 20. They made only one field goal after Wang's
driving layup with six minutes to play. The Suns had put the game
away with a 13-3 run that put gave them a 92-84 lead with 1:16
Sean Rooks, starting in place of injured Clippers center Michael
Olowokandi, scored a team-high 16 points before fouling out with
1:25 remaining. Elton Brand fouled out with 1:16 left after getting
12 points and 10 rebounds.
Lamar Odom, benched for the final 17 minutes of Wednesday's
two-point victory over Chicago following heated exchange with
assistant coach Dennis Johnson, ended up with 10 points and fouled
out with a minute left.
"We had control most of the way, but there were some tough
calls," Brand said after fouling out for the third time in 15
games. "I don't want to berate the officials, but that was one of
the worst games I've been a part of."
The Suns never led until Marbury stole the ball from Cherokee
Parks under the basket and fed Marion for a slam dunk that put
Phoenix ahead 63-61 with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
The basket capped an 18-7 run that erased an 11-point deficit
after the Clippers opened the second half with a 12-3 run and built
a 56-45 lead. Parks, playing for the first time since Dec. 10 after
missing 23 games because of back spasms, had eight points and six
rebounds in 21 minutes.
Olowokandi was placed on the injured list Friday because of a
sore left knee and will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery
Monday, which could keep him out for up to 2 months.
The fifth-year center was sidelined most of training camp
because of tendinitis in that knee and missed nine games with the
same ailment. The Clippers are 4-6 with Olowokandi out of the
The Suns are 10-13 when Marbury leads them in scoring, 15-5
when Marion does. That doesn't count the Dec. 21 victory over
Sacramento when they each had 28 points. ... The Clippers are last
in the Pacific Division and eight games out of a playoff spot. "It
is by far the most frustrating year I've ever had in basketball
because of the promise there was out there at the start of the
season and what we felt we could do," coach Alvin Gentry said. ...
Suns F Amare Stoudemire, the only high school player picked in last
year's draft, had some sound advice for LeBron James after the
well-publicized phenom from Ohio was declared ineligible to finish
his senior season because he was given two expensive throwback
jerseys. "That's the life he's in right now, so he's got to pretty
much be ready to take care of his own aspects and everything that's
going to come his way," said Stoudemire, whose agent suddenly
resigned on Thursday. "I'd just tell him to play it safe and just
try to stay away from anything negative. Just try and stay on a
straight path, make smart decisions and be careful what you