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Suns Look To Continue Winning Ways, Visit Magic
Posted Dec 11 2006 10:11AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Phoenix Suns have put their rough start to the season behind them. The Orlando Magic have cooled after looking surprisingly strong out of the gate.
Phoenix looks to extend its longest winning streak of the season when it takes on the Eastern Conference-leading Magic on Monday in Orlando.
This game is the fourth of a five-game road trip for the Suns, who visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Phoenix (13-6) began the season losing its first four games on the road and five of its first six overall, has now won 10 straight including five consecutive road games.
The streak is Phoenix's third of at least 10 games in the last three seasons, and the eighth-longest winning streak in club history, just four-games behind the franchise-record 14-game run from December, 1992.
The Suns' latest win was a 114-84 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Phoenix had six players score in double figures led by Amare Stoudemire, who scored 22 points with 12 rebounds.
``We had different guys step up at different times,'' coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``Let's face it - we are on a streak, and we don't want to mess it up by not having enough energy. We'll get beat, but we want to make sure the other team beats us and not beat ourselves.''
Phoenix is shooting an impressive 54.5 percent during the road trip while averaging 130.3 points per game. Stoudemire has averaged 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds during the last three games, and has recorded a double-double in seven of the last eight contests.
``Our goal is to win the championship, and I feel if I can get better we've got a better chance to win it,'' Stoudemire said.
Orlando (15-7), meanwhile, is trying to revert to the play which saw it win 13 of its first 17 games.
The Magic are coming off an 86-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. It was just the second win in the last five games for Orlando, who still own the best record in the weak Eastern Conference.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 28 points and 12 rebounds, while Grant Hill added 23 points. Philadelphia had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Jameer Nelson partially blocked Kevin Ollie's desperation shot to end the game.
``I think we're developing that mental and physical toughness that we need to be one of the really successful teams in the league,'' coach Bob Hill said. ``The more games you have like this the more it brings it out of you and the more you find out.
``They say adversity doesn't test your character, it reveals your character, and I think that's one area where this team is really above the approach as far as character of guys we have.''
Phoenix has won six of its last eight matchups with the Magic.
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