Suns Top Sonics in Another Shootout
Phoenix 129, Seattle 120
SEATTLE, March 14 (Ticker) -- The two highest-scoring teams in the NBA certainly did not disappoint.
The Phoenix Suns had four players - including newly acquired Tim Thomas - with at least 23 points as they outgunned the Seattle SuperSonics, 129-120.
"Every time we play these guys, a good game breaks out and that's got to be exciting for the fans," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They score baskets that you can't guard, and I think we do the same thing. Tonight, we just happened to score more than they did, the reverse of last time."
Thomas, who played just three games with Chicago before being released March 1, hooked up with the Suns just two days later and has been an integral part of their rotation since.
"We feel really lucky to get a guy like (Thomas) who can play and a guy who fits our system pretty well," Phoenix All-Star guard Steve Nash said. "We are still trying to incorporate him. It's a little difficult for him to feel really comfortable, but he's a nice compliment to our team."
Thomas scored 20 points in his debut and outdid that Tuesday as he was 10-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. He helped get the Suns off to a fast start, coming off the bench to score 15 points in the first quarter before sitting with three quick fouls.
"I've been in that situation before, just coming off the bench and being ready to play," Thomas said. "There was a nice flow. A nice rhythm. It's just a matter of me getting a better feel each and every game."
Raja Bell made five 3-pointers and scored 25 points to pace Phoenix, which never trailed after grabbing a 19-17 advantage in the first quarter.
All-Stars Shawn Marion and Nash helped the Suns build the lead to 112-97 with 8:42 remaining. Marion scored 24 points and Nash had 23 and eight of Phoenix's 33 assists.
"Our defense still slipped a little bit," Marion said. "We've got to pick it up a little bit. They were getting buckets too easily."
"I thought our effort was really good, but we couldn't keep them in front of us," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "Nash is amazing. Some of the stuff he did tonight, I don't know how they are not going to give him the MVP. He's some player."
Ray Allen scored 36 points, including a 3-pointer that got the Sonics within 118-110 with 3:58 to go.
However, Seattle showed why it allows a league-worst 106 points per game as Boris Diaw took the ensuing inbounds pass and raced to the other end of the floor for an uncontested dunk. The Suns were not threatened thereafter.
"I was trying to slow the point guard down in the backcourt and Diaw got the outlet pass and went straight to the basket," Sonics forward Rashard Lewis said. "Nobody stepped up to even try to make him pass or do something. Everybody just kind of stayed there and watched him go straight to the basket. Somebody's got to step up. At least slap him in the head or something."
Lewis scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half for the Sonics, who had won three of their four previous contests.