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Phoenix shoots 59.1 percent in victory

3/5/2003

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- With Stephon Marbury leading the way, the
Phoenix Suns torched the NBA's top defense.

Marbury had 35 points and 13 assists in an impressive 104-97
victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. He connected
on 12 of 14 shots and six consecutive 3-pointers as Phoenix blitzed
San Antonio with 59.1 percent shooting.

The Suns connected on an NBA season-high 76.9 percent from the
3-point line, on 10-of-13 shooting from behind the arc.

San Antonio, which had a four-game winning streak snapped,
entered the game with the league's lowest opponent field goal
percentage, holding teams to 41.8 percent.

"It was a huge win for us against an opponent that's playing
the best basketball in the league," Suns coach Frank Johnson said.
"We played at a level tonight that we have not been able to
sustain all year. We had a composure tonight that we had earlier in
the year. We never got rattled by other teams when they would take
the lead. Tonight, that was back and we stayed within ourselves."

The Suns had five players in double figures as Amare Stoudemire
and Shawn Marion scored 17 points apiece, while Scott Williams and
Joe Johnson each had 13.

"Phoenix was great, they shot the ball well," San Antonio
coach Gregg Popovich said. "Their shooting from the field and
their 3-point shooting, it makes it real tough. The guys showed
great effort hanging in there."

San Antonio, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, was
led by Tim Duncan with 35 points and 21 rebounds.

"You have to give a lot of credit to Phoenix, they fought very
hard tonight," said Duncan, who was 14-for-18 from the field.
"Every time we made a run at them they came up with a big shot or
a big rebound to keep us at bay. Hats off to them, because they did
a lot of things well tonight."

Emanuel Ginobili added 14 points for San Antonio.

The Spurs scored the first six points in the fourth quarter and
took their first lead of the game, 73-72, on a driving layup by
Malik Rose with 10:43 to play. Phoenix answered with an 11-0 spurt
capped by a three-point play by Stoudemire with 8:10 remaining.

After San Antonio closed to 88-84 on David Robinson's dunk shot
with 5:46 to play, Phoenix went on a 7-2. Duncan cut the Suns' lead
to 99-97 with 51.2 seconds left, but the Suns closed the game on a
5-0 run: a basket by Stoudemire backed by free throws from Williams
and Marion.

"We did what we had to do to win this one," Marbury said.
"This was more than a game to us tonight. This was a big game. We
really needed this one.

"We are kind of desperate right now. We can't afford to play at
a level any lower than where we played tonight. If we play like we
did tonight and still lose, I can accept that, but nothing less."

Trailing by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, San
Antonio went on a 7-0 run to cut Phoenix's lead to 60-59 on
Duncan's free throw with 3:34 to play in the period.

Duncan had 12 of his points in the third quarter to keep San
Antonio close at 72-67 going into the fourth period.

Phoenix opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run and led 39-28
on a jump shot by Williams. The Suns maintained the lead into the
halftime break and led 53-47 at intermission as Marbury scored 19
of his points, including connecting on all four of his 3-point
attempts.

The Suns broke a five-game road losing streak to the Spurs.

"This was a team tonight that played with togetherness, focus
and intensity,'' Williams said. "Hopefully this victory will give
us momentum that we carry on the rest of the way."

Game notes
Phoenix won the season series 2-1. ... The Spurs
dropped to 23-5 at home in the new SBC Center . ... San Antonio is
22-5 since New Year's, the NBA's top record during that time. ...
San Antonio came into the game leading the league in blocked shots
(395) and added seven against Phoenix . ... Duncan's double-double
was his 42nd this season . ... The Suns are 11-20 on the road and
8-10 against teams from the Midwest Division. ... Marbury's 35
points marked the 17th time this season he has topped 30 points.

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