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Suns Fight Blizzard, Hope to Win 16th Straight
Posted Dec 22 2006 6:15PM
A blizzard did what no team in the NBA has been able to do lately - slow down the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns will likely have a few hours to recover from a longer-than-anticipated road swing before meeting the Washington Wizards at US Airways Center on Friday in search of their 16th straight win.
The Suns (18-6) were snowbound in a downtown Denver hotel after Wednesday's scheduled game against the Nuggets was postponed by a storm that dumped 3 feet of snow in parts of the region.
Denver International Airport was closed and it isn't expected to reopen until noon local time Friday. The Suns are hoping to leave on a chartered plane sometime in the afternoon and return to Phoenix well ahead of the tip-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m. local time.
When the Suns do take the court, they'll be looking to extend the league's longest winning streak in nearly seven years. The Los Angeles Lakers won 19 in a row from Feb. 4-March 13, 2000.
``What does it really mean? Not much,'' two-time reigning MVP Steve Nash said, ``but I think it's fun, and I think it's an accomplishment nonetheless. We should probably be proud of ourselves but at the same time realize it doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, either.''
With a 115-98 win over Toronto on Tuesday, the Suns broke the franchise record of 14 straight wins set in 1992. Nash had 10 points and tied a season-high with 15 assists.
Amare Stoudemire had one of his best games of the season, scoring 28 points and adding 10 rebounds in only 28 minutes. He missed all but three games last season following microfracture knee surgery, and after a slow start this season is third on the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game.
``He's just so much quicker than most big guys. Our guys tried to get back and were running hard, but it's just so hard to run with him,'' Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. ``He gets down the court so quick and he sucks the defense in. You very rarely see forwards that fast.''
Stuodemire has had nine double-doubles during the win streak.
The Suns have won 12 of the last 14 home games against the Wizards (13-12), who are coming off a 126-119 win over Sacramento on Thursday. Antawn Jamison tied season-highs with 33 points and 13 rebounds, while Gilbert Arenas scored 30 points.
After the game, Jamison said he was looking forward to facing a potent Suns offense that is averaging a league-best 110.8 ppg.
``It's going to be up and down,'' said Jamison, who's averaged 19.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 24 career games against Phoenix. ``It's going to be fun.''
The Wizards erased six-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Kings 44-24 in the third quarter.
``We just couldn't stop anybody in the first half,'' Arenas said. ``We didn't play any defense in that half, and in the second half we did. ... We just tried to take advantage of it, and that's what we came in and did.''
Highlighted by a 60-point game in a win over the Lakers on Sunday, Arenas is averaging 37.6 points through the first three games of this four-game road trip, which ends with this contest.
Arenas is third in the league in scoring at 29.2 ppg, but is averaging only 24.9 ppg on the road this season. The former University of Arizona star had 41 points in a 112-111 win over the Suns in Phoenix last Dec. 23.
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