PHOENIX, Nov. 29 (Ticker) --
After a sub-par first half and a decent third quarter, Stephon Marbury
had a fourth quarter for the record books.
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Marbury scored a franchise-record 26 points in the final period and finished with a season-high 43 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 94-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Marbury had just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting in the first half and was en route to a typical game after scoring nine in
the third quarter. But he erupted in the final 12 minutes, making 11-of-15 shots in leading the Suns to their third
"When you're making shots, it's a lot easier to go out and shoot the ball," he said. "When you're not, you have to keep on
shooting because you know you can shoot the ball. You never doubt your shot."
The 6-3 guard tied a franchise record with 11 baskets in the period and eclipsed the club record for points in any quarter by
"Stephon just put on a show on for us in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter," Suns center Scott Williams said. "He just puts his team on his back and carried us across the finish line. I used to have the best seat in the house with the Bulls, watching Michael Jordan. Tonight was just as exciting."
The Suns never led until Marbury buried a jumper for a 62-60 edge 75 seconds into the fourth quarter. He made a runner before
hitting a 15-foot jumper to give Phoenix the lead for good at 70-69 with 7:45 to go.
The Suns had an 83-80 lead when Marbury made a reverse layup with 2:54 remaining. After a dunk by San Antonio's Tim Duncan, he completed a three-point play with 67 seconds left for an 88-82 edge.
"Stephon was fantastic," San Antonio coach Gregg Poppovich said. "He took over the game the last five, six, seven minutes. He
did everything. He drove to the hole, he knocked down shots, he was fantastic."
Spurs guard Steve Smith made a layup with 57 seconds to play, but Marbury restored Phoenix's four-point lead with a pair of free throws 16 seconds later.
Smith responded with a three-pointer, but Marbury buried a clutch jumper from the top of the key at 20 seconds and rookie Amare Stoudemire made two free throws nine seconds later to seal the win.
Shawn Marion and Williams each had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who improved to 7-2 at America West Arena.
Stoudemire grabbed 10 rebounds as Phoenix held a commanding 49-38 edge on the glass. The Suns had a season-high 25 offensive
rebounds leading to 24 points.
"It was a good hustle night for us," Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "What it amounted to was 25 offensive rebounds and 24
second-chance points against their big team."
Duncan had a season-high 31 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio, which lost for just the second time in its last seven
meetings with Phoenix.
Kevin Willis scored 14 points off the bench and Smith finished with 12 for the Spurs, who shot 50 percent (34-of-68) but could not overcome 21 turnovers leading to 23 points for the Suns.
"Our two old nemesis came back to haunt us again: turnovers and we really got destroyed on the boards," Poppovich said. "We gave up over 20 points off turnovers and they for more than 20 points in second-chance points."