"We held tough like we've been doing most of the year," Suns
coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We made some stops at the end. It was a
great, great game."
Amare Stoudemire added 20 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix,
which erased a seven-point deficit in the final 3 minutes and
became the first club to 20 wins this season, but first had to
outlast the Sonics in an exciting fourth quarter.
"We don't want to live that way, but it's nice to be able to
come back from being down," said Nash, who added 12 assists.
"We've got a big heart, but it's also talent. You've got to use
Quentin Richardson's three-point play put Phoenix ahead for good
at 105-103 with 1:10 remaining, and the Suns survived a thrilling
Phoenix (20-3) led 107-104 with the clock running down when
Seattle's Luke Ridnour missed a 3-point try from the right wing
with 11.9 seconds to play.
The Sonics (18-5) had just moved the ball around the perimeter
for three decent looks, but Rashard Lewis missed an inside try and
Vladimir Radmanovic missed a 3-pointer during the possession.
"It was a hard-fought battle," said Ray Allen, who scored 32
points on 15-of-26 shooting. "The ball didn't go down for us in
the stretch. I know I missed a layup that would have put us in a
different situation. But when I draw the final conclusion, they
Marion made two free throws, but Allen bounced in a 3-pointer
with 4 seconds to play to get Seattle within 109-107. Nash was
fouled immediately and hit both shots to give Phoenix a 111-107
The Suns needed every point, too, because Lewis took an inbounds
pass and hit a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds on the clock. Marion was
fouled and added one free throw to seal the win.
"They are a great team," Marion said. "They have been
shooting the mess out of the ball. They hit some big shots. You
have to give them credit."
Lewis scored 25 points, while Reggie Evans added 13 points and
14 rebounds. Radmanovic scored 14, and Antonio Daniels had 11 for
Phoenix won its seventh straight game, as well as its seventh
straight on the road to extend the team's longest road winning
streak since 1997-98. At 10-1, the Suns have the best away record
in the league.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first meeting
in almost five years between teams with better than .800 records
after 20 games. The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail
Blazers 90-87 on Feb. 29, 2000.
Even stranger, neither the Suns nor Sonics reached the playoffs
It had the feel of a playoff game, a sensation that Sonics fans
haven't experienced for three years. The sellout crowd of 17,072
was treated to a great fourth quarter that didn't quite swing in
"It was a great game to be a part of," Allen said. "It was
fun. It was very up-tempo. Shots were going in from everywhere."
Seattle, which came in with the best home record in the NBA,
lost for the second time in a week at KeyArena, following a loss to
Boston last weekend.
Seattle led 89-85 after Allen's three-point play with 6:42 to
play, capping an 8-0 burst. Phoenix tied it at 90 on a 3-pointer by
Richardson. Seattle used a 12-5 run to go up 102-95, forcing a Suns
timeout with 3:08 remaining after Radmanovic scored on a banked-in
15-footer and rattled in a 3-pointer.
"We just don't lose heart," D'Antoni said. "They kept their
heads in and kept plugging away."
No lead lasted long, though, and Marion swished a 3-pointer and
dunked on a fastbreak to get Phoenix within 102-100 with 2:35 to
go. After Evans made 1 of 2 free throws, Marion hit both of his to
cut the lead to 103-102.
"You've got them on the ropes like that and, bam, they come
right back and take the lead," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said.
Seattle fell to 13-1 when scoring at least 100 points. ...
The Suns have won 16 of the last 26 against the Sonics. ... Lewis
came up limping after an attempted alley-oop bounced off the rim
midway through the fourth period, but dusted himself off and kept