Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/18

Game 1: Saturday, December 18th
Wizards96Final
Suns110
Game 2: Saturday, January 15th
Suns103Final
Wizards108

Wizards 96

(13-9, 6-5 away)

Suns 110

(21-3, 11-2 home)

    Coverage: WBDC

    7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2004

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 28 17 22 2996
    PHX 33 20 25 32110

    Top Performers

    WSH: A. Jamison 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    PHX: S. Marion 36 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 6 Stl, 1 Blk

    Phoenix wins on back-to-back nights

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns proved again they have no shortage of scorers.

    Shawn Marion had a season-high 36 points and 14 rebounds, his 17th double-double in 24 games, and the Suns outran the Washington Wizards 110-96 Saturday night.

    The win came a night after Phoenix beat Seattle 112-110 in a battle of the NBA's two best teams.

    The trip home took a toll -- leading scorer Amare Stoudemire was sluggish, got in foul trouble and had just eight points in 22 minutes, snapping his team-best streak of double-digit games at 53.

    Joe Johnson, the Suns' top scorer in three of five previous games, also had a slow start.

    But Marion looked like he'd had a week off.

    "I'm the Matrix," he said. "I don't get tired. I wanted to do a little more tonight and help my teammates out. They helped me out; it was a team thing."

    Steven Hunter ably replaced Stoudemire at center, tying his career high with 17 points, including two putbacks late in the game that locked up the Suns' eighth straight win and franchise-best 17th win in 18 games.

    Phoenix led 106-88 with 2:54 to go after Hunter's second putback.

    "We expended a lot of energy, didn't get home till 4:30 in the morning," point guard Steve Nash said. "It was tough, but we were professional. We just kind of got the job done, and I think that's why we're 21-3."

    Quentin Richardson had 19 points for the Suns.

    The Suns have the same record after 24 games as Dallas did in 2002-03, when the Mavericks were led by Nash. Nash had 13 points and 11 assists Saturday night, becoming the first NBA player with eight consecutive games in double-digit assists since Nick Van Exel in 1999-2000.

    He joined an impressive list of others whose streaks of eight games or more were all victories -- Magic Johnson (10), Oscar Robertson (8) and John Stockton (8).

    "They're a wonderful team," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They're a wonderful team to watch. They're unselfish, and they've got shooters."

    Antawn Jamison had 25 points and nine rebounds, and Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes had 19 points each for Washington, which dropped its third in four games.

    Arenas had 12 in the fourth quarter, but never managed to get Washington closer than nine points.

    "That's a luxury this (Suns) team has," Jamison said. "From the point guard to the center, anyone can give you 30 or 35 a night. We're in a situation where we have a nice threesome, but when you have the first five that can make it difficult on you, it's tough to play against that team."

    Marion had two of his six steals on clearing passes in the fourth quarter to further frustrate the Wizards, who came in as one of only seven teams averaging more than 100 points.

    The Suns led from the second quarter, but never by more than nine until Marion made it 55-45 with the first basket of the third. Marion scored eight more points during a 16-8 surge that lifted Phoenix to a 69-53 lead with 5:24 left in the third.

    The Suns made 13 3-pointers, going 7-of-8 in the first quarter. They took a 33-24 lead on Marion's third with 1:32 left.

    But the Wizards surged back on Arenas' heady play.

    He stole a pass by Richardson and dunked with 55 seconds to go, then passed to Brendan Haywood for a dunk 31 seconds later -- starting a 13-3 run capped by Jamison's short jumper for a 37-36 Washington lead with 7:38 left in the second.

    Stoudemire got the lead back with a 17-footer seconds later, and Hunter had a layup and two dunks to help Phoenix open a 53-45 halftime lead.

    "Amare had no energy or focus tonight, but that is something that happens," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We had a real emotional game last night. Thank goodness the Wizards came in here after an emotional game also."

    Game notes


    Hunter jammed a finger on his right hand on his final dunk and left the game with his hand in a splint. ... The Wizards' last victory in Phoenix was on Feb. 15, 2002, when Michael Jordan hit the winner with no time left in a 97-96 game. ... Washington, which beat the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime the night before, is 1-1 on a five-game road trip that also includes games at Golden State, Sacramento and Minnesota.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    WSH
    PHX
    Points 96 110
    FGM-FGA 40-87 (.460) 43-90 (.478)
    3PM-3PA 9-25 (.360) 13-26 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 7-10 (.700) 11-15 (.733)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-47 11-43
    Assists 21 28
    Turnovers 20 12
    Steals 8 12
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 21 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 18

    Top Performers

    Washington
    Phoenix
    Antawn Jamison Jamison
    Points: 25
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 36
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 6
    Blk: 1