<
>

Stoudemire's 10 blocks ties Suns record

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jerry Sloan's 900th NBA coaching victory came the
way so many of the others did -- with his team grinding it out and
making the big shot at the end.

Carlos Arroyo sank a 3-pointer with 35.2 seconds to play and the
Utah Jazz beat the Phoenix Suns 96-92 on Saturday night to snap a
four-game losing streak.

Amare Stoudemire tied a Suns' record with 10 blocked shots, six
in the first quarter. He also scored 20 points and had four steals,
but Phoenix lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Sloan, in his 16th season with the Jazz, is the eighth NBA coach
to achieve 900 victories.

"Wow, that's amazing," Arroyo said. "That's a big
accomplishment for him individually. He deserves it. He has shown
that he's a Hall of Famer as far as coaching, and he's going to
continue to get us better."

Sloan trails only Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown and Don Nelson in
victories among active coaches, and his .623 winning percentage is
the best of all four.

Sloan said his team's 25th victory of the season was far more
important than the No. 900 of his coaching career.

"I've always felt like something like that belongs to our
franchise and our coaches rather than to just one individual," he
said, "because I certainly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the
guys who work with us."

Andrei Kirilenko had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists
for the Jazz. His 3-pointer with 2:32 to play put Utah up 89-88.
Kirilenko sank one of two free throws with 1:37 left to make it
90-88, then former Jazz guard Howard Eisley tied it at 90 on a
driving layup with 1:27 to go.

The Suns knocked the ball loose underneath, but it bounced to
Arroyo, who had dribbled the ball off his foot for a turnover on
the previous possession. His 3-pointer with 3 seconds left on the
shot clock put Utah up for good.

Sloan liked the way his young players didn't let mistakes get
them down.

"Carlos turned the ball over and comes back and makes a big
3," Sloan said. "Andrei makes a big 3 after a mistake. Those
things are important to young players to try to move forward with
their game.

Joe Johnson, who scored eight of his 13 in the fourth quarter,
missed two free throws with 30.8 seconds remaining, then Arroyo
made one of two with 15.9 seconds and Jarron Collins sank two to
seal it with 13.3 seconds to play.

Arroyo scored 16, Greg Ostertag 14 and Maurice Williams 10 for
the Suns, who outrebounded Phoenix 43-30, 15-6 on the offensive
boards.

Stoudemire, in his third game since missing nine games with an
ankle injury, tied the franchise record set by Larry Nance at
Philadelphia on Jan. 4, 1988. His six first-quarter blocked shots
and seven in the first half also tied franchise records.

"I kind of had my swagger going tonight on the defensive end,"
Stoudemire said. "I try to take a lot of pride in my defense.
That's how you win games and championships."

Casey Jacobsen scored a season-high 18 points but threw up an
air-ball from 3-point range with just under a minute to play and
the game tied at 90. Shawn Marion and former Eisley added 14 points
apiece.

"We've got to get out of this funk," coach Mike D'Antoni said.
"We're kind of in a box right now. We're expecting bad things to
happen to us and they're happening to us."

Eight of Phoenix's last nine losses have been by five points or
less.

"Same old story, man," Marion said. "It's not like we weren't
right there -- a missed shot here and a rebound there."

Johnson's baseline drive through traffic tied it at 88-88 with
3:19 left. Kirilenko lost the ball to Stoudemire on the dribble,
then stole it back, but Stoudemire blocked the shot -- his 10th of
the game -- and Eisley scored inside to put Phoenix ahead for the
only time, 88-86, with 2:52 to play.

Game notes
Stoudemire's previous career best was six blocks. ... The
Jazz signed center Mikki Moore to a second 10-day contract. ...
Suns starting guards Johnson and Leandro Barbosa were a combined
1-for-8 shooting in the first half, 5-for-20 for the game. ... Tom
Gugliotta made a rare appearance off the bench for the Suns amid
speculation that he is about to be traded to the Jazz. ... Phoenix
assistant coach Tim Grgurich drew a technical foul with 56.5
seconds left in the third quarter.