PHOENIX, Dec. 23, (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire
, Shawn Marion
red-hot Phoenix Suns proved to be too much for the road-weary
Stoudemire had 30 points and 11 rebounds and Marion scored 29
points as the Suns extended their winning streak to 10 games
with a 109-102 victory over the Grizzlies, who played their
fourth road games in five days.
NBA TV highlights from |
The Suns (22-3) became the first team in NBA history to win 10
games in row after losing at least 50 the previous season and
are off to the league's best start since Michael Jordan's
Chicago Bulls opened the 1994-95 campaign 41-3.
"Not many teams in this league get to win 10 games in a row, not
many players can say they have won 10 in a row and its a great
accomplishment," Steve Nash
said. "I think our team should be
proud, but I think our team should see signs of complacency and
we need to get a little more focused."
Memphis took its largest lead, 77-70, with 2:27 remaining in the
third quarter on back-to-back jumpers by Earl Watson
Marion scored the next five points on a 19-foot jumper and
3-pointer and Stoudemire and Steve Nash hit three free throws to
give Phoenix a 78-77 lead entering the final period.
Stoudemire and Marion carried the momentum, combining for 14
points in a 17-6 run that made it 95-83 with just under six
minutes to go.
"They test you defensively every way," Memphis coach Mike Fratello
said. "From a defensive standpoint they are a
nightmare to think about. My hat's off to them, they've gotten
off to a great start."
Stoudemire hit two easy buckets around a 3-pointer by Casey
Jacobsen before adding a jumper to give the Suns a 10-point
advantage. Marion traded baskets with James Posey
and Jason Williams
and Posey and Pau Gasol
each sank a free throw before
Stoudemire and Marion capped the spurt with dunks on a pair of
feeds from Nash.
"This was a game we felt like we should get a win," Stoudemire
said. "We know we can go on runs but we have to prepare
ourselves for the better teams. We need to start off the first
quarter with a run and then end the game with a run."
Williams sparked the Grizzlies' rally, scoring seven of his 21
points and recording two assists down the stretch as Memphis cut
the deficit to 105-102 with 45 seconds to go. Marion missed
the rim on a 3-pointer on the other end to give the Grizzlies a
chance to tie, but Mike Miller
badly missed a shot from the arc.
"It's the NBA," Marion said. "Everyone's going to make a run.
It's just how we handle it. When we start getting a little
lead, we need to put our foot down and make another run for
Nash, who had 17 and 14 assists, hit four free throws to seal
the victory. It was Nash's 10th straight game with double-digit
"We got it down to where we wanted to get it but we missed our
last shot," Miller said. "They made their free throws and that
was it. We just didn't make our shots down the stretch."
Magic Johnson is the only other player in NBA history to tally
at least 10 assists in 10 consecutive outings and win each one.
He accomplished the feat during the 1986-87 campaign.
"It's something I don't really think about," Nash said. "But to
be mentioned with Magic Johnson at any time it's an honor and I
am lucky my teammates make it easy for me."
Miller hit his first nine shots and scored 19 of his 22 points
in the first half, but Phoenix closed the half with a 10-4 run
to take a 56-53 lead at the break.
"They shouldn't be that close," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
"It is something I told you before, (the slow starts) will bite
us, but we are 23-3 so I can't stand up here and go crazy and
complain too much."
Gasol added 19 for Memphis, which finished the road swing at