Marion, Nash Lead Suns Past Bucks
Phoenix 123, Milwaukee 110
PHOENIX, March 1 (Ticker) -- Shawn Marion continued to burn things up for the Phoenix Suns.
Marion had 29 points and 18 rebounds and Steve Nash was his normal spectacular self as the Suns extended their winning streak to eight games with a 123-110 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Lately I have been getting into a rhythm and feeling it," said Marion, who recorded his league-leading 44th double-double. "My teammates have been looking for me and making the extra pass and I have been the beneficiary of getting a lot of late passes after teams commit and I have been able to knock them down."
Marion was given a chance to reach 30 points again when he was sent back in by coach Mike D'Antoni with the contest well in hand with 1:52 remaining. However, he managed to just split a pair of free throws with just over a minute left.
"I didn't want to go back in. That is not even me," Marion said. "If you have been around for a while, you know I am about the team. As far as doing something individual, I will do it during the course of the game. Having to go back in and try to do it is not me."
"I didn't realize that he was that close, so I took him out," said D'Antoni, who originally pulled Marion with 3:43 left. "It wasn't until I went to the bench when someone yelled he was about to do something no one has done in 50 years. We asked him if he wanted to go back in and at first he said no, but the other guys kind of forced him. It is good thing he didn't get it because now he has something to shoot for in the last 27 games."
Nash, the reigning NBA MVP, also ran roughshod over the Bucks, collecting 23 points and 13 assists en route to his 32nd double-double.
"The ball moved well and we went on a nice run there," Nash said. "We did let them back in and the same thing happened in the second half but we had enough left in the tank to separate ourselves and win the game."
Boris Diaw made all eight of his shots and scored 16 points before fouling out for the Suns, who opened things up in the first half, when they shot 63 percent (27-of-43) from the field and built a 62-50 lead.
Outgunned by Marion, Nash and the rest of the Suns, Michael Redd scored 37 points to pace the Bucks, who fell to 0-18 in Phoenix dating to February 1987.
"We knew we would get our exercise in this game," Redd said. "Phoenix consistently pushes it and we just got outran. We could have won this game if we could have gotten down to eight or nine in the fourth, but they did a great job with (using) the three as a dagger."
A free throw by Mo Williams with 10:32 left in the first half had the Bucks within 32-28. But Raja Bell nailed a 3-pointer and Diaw and James Jones had baskets to give the Suns a double-digit lead.
The Suns used a 13-3 surge later in the quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Eddie House to make it 52-33 at the 4:33 mark.
Nash was the ringleader in the big first half for the Suns as he collected 16 points and seven assists.
Holding a 71-63 lead less than four minutes into the third quarter, the Suns reeled off a 16-6 run and built a 97-77 advantage entering the final period.
The Bucks got as close as 102-92 with 7:48 remaining on two free throws by Redd. But the Suns responded with a 16-5 surge to put away the game.
"They are an explosive team, but their style of play allows you to get back in games," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "We kept fighting and every time we got close, we'd miss an easy one and they would come down and make one."
Bell scored 14 points and Pat Burke and Leandro Barbosa added 12 apiece for the Suns, who shot 57 percent (51-of-90) and made nine 3-pointers.
Phoenix reached the 100-point mark for the 19th straight game, the NBA's longest run since San Antonio hit the century mark in 22 straight in 1994-95.
"Offensively, we are playing really well right now," D'Antoni said. "The ball is moving and everyone is contributing. We are pretty good offensively right now. They are great guys and doing a great job. They are a self motivating and the chemistry is really good right now."
Charlie Bell added 12 points and rookie Andrew Bogut 11 for Milwaukee, which shot 43 percent (41-of-95).