PHOENIX, Dec. 18 (Ticker) -- Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash helped a team make history again.

Shawn Marion had a season-high 36 points and 14 rebounds and Nash added 13 and 11 assists as the Suns extended their winning streak to eight games with a 110-96 victory over the Washington Wizards.

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Phoenix has won 17 of its last 18 games to improve to a league-best 21-3 this season. The Suns kept pace with the best start in the NBA since a Nash-led Dallas squad opened 22-3 two years ago.

"There are some similarities to that Dallas team," Nash said. "We are both high-scoring teams (that are) difficult to defend, but we have our own identity. We are more athletic and more versatile."

The Suns held a one-point lead with 4:31 left in the second quarter before using a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 53-45 at intermission.

Steven Hunter, who got extra playing time due to Amare Stoudemire's foul trouble, scored eight points during the surge and matched a career-high with 17 before injuring his finger on a dunk in the fourth quarter.

"Amare was struggling a bit, so I wanted to come off the bench with a lot of energy," Hunter said. "To win a championship or go deep in the playoffs, we need a 10-man rotation and I think we have more than capable guys. We want to show people that our bench is a good bench."

Marion, who was 13-of-18 from the floor, scored 15 points in the third quarter. With Phoenix holding a 61-53 lead at the 7:14 mark, he singlehandedly doubled the Suns margin, scoring eight consecutive points over the next two minutes.

"I wanted it a little bit more," Marion joked. "Everybody was tired but we sucked it up a bit. It was a team thing."

Nash has dished out 10 or more assists in eight straight games. He has 13 double-doubles this season, second on the team to Marion's 17.

Quentin Richardson had five of Phoenix's 13 3-pointers and scored 19 points for the Suns, who had four players in double figures.

Antawn Jamison had 25 points and nine rebounds and Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes each scored 19 points for Washington, which is 1-1 on its five-game road trip.

"We thought after their first run, they would catch warm. They couldn't shoot any better then that," Arenas said. "At least one of their players that was out there was hot and they kept drilling us all night."

The Suns improved to 13-1 in back-to-back situations. They did not win their 21st game last season until March 3 in their 62nd game.

"They are a wonderful team and a wonderful team to watch," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "Steve Nash is the orchestrator. They've got shooters and are unselfish."