Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/20

Game 1: Friday, December 20th
Game 2: Friday, December 27th
Game 3: Friday, January 31st
Game 4: Tuesday, February 11th

Suns 98

(27-21, 9-17 away)

Clippers 92

(17-29, 10-15 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 31, 2003

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 18 24 26 3098
    LAC 24 19 26 2392

    Top Performers

    PHX: S. Marbury 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 15 Ast, 5 Stl

    LAC: S. Rooks 16 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Phoenix scores 60 points in the paint

    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 left.

    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 lineup.

    Game notes
    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 accept."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 92
    FGM-FGA 35-75 (.467) 34-66 (.515)
    3PM-3PA 3-9 (.333) 5-15 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 25-39 (.641) 19-30 (.633)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-34 12-43
    Assists 24 24
    Turnovers 11 25
    Steals 15 6
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 7 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 28 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 19
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 15
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 0
    Sean Rooks Rooks
    Points: 16
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0