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Marion's 29 points, 15 boards help Suns beat Sonics

PHOENIX (AP) -- Even on a so-so night, the Phoenix Suns had
enough to wear down the Seattle SuperSonics.

Shawn Marion had 29 points and 15 rebounds, Steve Nash added 27
points and 11 assists, and the Suns beat the fading Sonics 113-102
on Tuesday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

"Not great basketball," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said, "but
we did our job and lived for another day."

The Suns overcame career bests of 29 points and 21 rebounds by
Seattle's Nick Collison to hand the Sonics their fifth loss in a
row and 12th straight defeat on the road, two shy of the franchise

"Statistically, that's three times probably my average,"
Collison said. "It was a good game personally, but you have one
guy have a great game like that and we still lose by 15 (actually
11), it doesn't make things feel very well."

Marion had 19 points and nine rebounds in the second half, when
the Suns finally took control of the game.

"We didn't place enough importance on what we were doing in the
first half," Nash said. "I think it was a wake-up call to be down
two at the half, and we picked it up."

Leandro Barbosa scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter
for Phoenix, winner of a franchise-record 15 in a row earlier this
season. Ray Allen scored 25 for Seattle.

After giving up 60 points in the first half, the Suns held the
Sonics to 14 in the third quarter.

"I think we were just talking a lot better on defense," Marion
said. "We were limiting them to one shot, then getting out and
playing Suns basketball."

Seattle coach Bob Hill would love to have that kind of game from
Collison more often.

"That's the best game I've ever seen Nick Collison play," Hill
said. "He seemed to be playing much higher. He did everything,
scored the ball, rebounded. If we could start getting that, it
would be pretty nice."

Nash had a simple explanation for Collison's big game.

"I think we just underestimated him," Nash said, "and he
outhustled us to be honest."

The Suns, with the longest active winning streak in the league,
took the lead for good with a 16-2 run at the end of the third
quarter and start of the fourth.

After trailing virtually the entire first half, Phoenix
outscored Seattle 12-2 to start the second half to go up 70-62 on
Marion's' 3-pointer with 9:21 to play. But the Sonics scored the
next 10 to regain the lead 72-70 when Johan Petro dunked 5:29 from
the end of the quarter.

The Suns, though, ended the third with a 10-2 spurt to lead
80-74 entering the fourth. Phoenix scored the first six of the
final quarter to go up 86-74 on Marion's basket with 10:31 to play.

Seattle cut the lead to 106-98 on Mickael Gelabale's layup with
2:17 to play, but Barbosa sank an 18-footer, then made his third
breakaway layup of the quarter to put the Suns up 110-98. Marion's
3-pointer sealed the victory.

Hill said he was "thrilled" by his team's effort but thought
the Sonics grew tired at the end, something that often happens to
Phoenix opponents.

"I think the game is fun when you play them, so you kind of get
into it," Collison said. "It's easier maybe to run up and down.
But if we all had odometers on our feet I'm sure we ran up and down
a lot more miles this game than any other game, so it does wear you

Collison -- whose previous career bests were 21 points and 15
boards -- dominated play inside against Amare Stoudemire and nearly
had his career high in points by halftime, scoring 17 points and
grabbing 10 rebounds as Seattle took a 60-58 lead. Nash kept
Phoenix close with 20 first-half points on 8-of-10 shooting, 4-of-5
from 3-point range.

The Sonics jumped ahead 17-6 and led the rest of the half.

After Stoudemire missed two free throws, Collison's reverse
layup put Seattle up 60-55 with 26 seconds left in the half. Nash's
3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left cut it to 60-58 at halftime.

Nash finished 11-for-15, 5-for-7 on 3-pointers.

Game notes
Seattle has two victories over teams that currently have a
winning record -- the Lakers and Indiana. ... The Sonics'
franchise-record road losing streak of 14 was set over two seasons,
ending on Dec. 1, 1976. ... Phoenix is 25-3 since a 1-5 start. ...
Collison had eight offensive rebounds. ... The Suns' eight losses
are the fewest of any team in the NBA.

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