PHOENIX, Nov. 30 (Ticker) --
While the Phoenix Suns again flashed their
newfound defense, they reminded the Indiana Pacers that they can
still score in bunches, too.
set a career high with seven 3-pointers and scored a
season-high 31 points as the Suns used a pair of first-quarter
bursts to ambush the Pacers, 109-91, for their fourth straight
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collected 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns,
who have replaced some of their running and gunning with some
scratching and clawing. Over their last six games, they are
allowing an average of 88.8 points - nearly 15 points per game
lower than their league-worst norm of last season.
"Our defense was the key," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
we keep up on defense, it makes it a lot easier on offense when
you know you don't have to live by the shot."
However, the Suns wasted no time showing the Pacers that they
can still get up and down the floor a bit. They began the game
with a 14-4 burst and added an 11-0 run later in the first
period for a 33-14 lead.
At the controls was Nash, the 2005 NBA MVP who is scoring a bit
more this season. He made his first six 3-pointers and finished
7-of-8 from the arc, surpassing his previous career high of six
with Dallas against Orlando on April 5, 2003.
"When you shoot the ball well, you feel good," Nash said. "I've
been pretty cold from threes this year, so it was about time.
I still try to make the right play, but if I am open and I can
give myself a look, then I take it. If my teammates are open, I
will try to find them."
"I guess his shot is back," D'Antoni said.
Overall, Nash made 10-of-15 shots and added nine assists and
eight rebounds. He directed an offense that embarrassed the
Pacers, one of the league's tougher defensive units.
"We caught them on a back-to-back; you never know how much they
were off their game and how much we were on," D'Antoni said.
"We are starting to play better. You can see that."
"We're not making excuses. We got beat tonight," Pacers forward
said. "Everybody plays back-to-back games and
you have to find a way to win. They are a real rhythm team, and
once they get going, they are hard to stop."
Nash had a 3-pointer and another hoop in the game-opening spurt
and Marion scored five points in the 11-0 burst as Phoenix built
a permanent double-digit lead.
"We are capable of scoring some points. Tonight was one of
those games where we were knocking down our shots like we are
suppose to," Marion said. The offense is clicking, so it is a
big plus when the defense is clicking on all cylinders."
The Suns held a 61-44 halftime advantage, shooting 51 percent
(24-of-47), including 7-of-14 from the arc. Nash was 5-of-5
from long range.
Nash scored 11 points in the third quarter, when Phoenix built
the lead to 30 points before settling for a 91-64 bulge entering
the final period, when Indiana coach Rick Carlisle
had 17 points and eight rebounds and Kurt Thomas
added 11 and nine off the bench for the Suns.
O'Neal had 25 points and nine boards for the Pacers, who have
lost six of their last seven visits here. Indiana fell to 2-1
on its five-game road trip.
"We didn't play well enough early to give ourselves a chance,"
Carlisle said. "Our undoing was the first quarter when we were
outscored by 18. Our energy level wasn't where we needed it to
be. It was unfortunate because we had two very good
performances, especially at the defensive end, coming in. We
can do better and that is where the regret is."