Seattle 121, Phoenix 108

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 26 (AP) -- Chris Wilcox scored 27 points but fifth draft pick Jeff Green sprained his ankle in the Seattle SuperSonics' 121-108 win over the Phoenix Suns in the exhibition finale for both teams Friday night.

Steve Nash's return to his home province was the first NBA game in Vancouver since 2001, when the Grizzlies moved to Memphis.

Amare Stoudemire had an encouraging 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns and Nash had a preseason-high 12 assists while wowing an adoring crowd that sold out General Motors Place for something other than Canucks hockey.

Nash played three quarters. The sellout crowd roared with "We want Nash!'' chants throughout the final period. Suns coach Mike D'Antoni kept smiling - but kept his two-time MVP on the bench to preserve his health.

Nash gave the fans a final thrill by throwing his purple-and-black game shoes into the screaming crowd.

Stoudemire, the All-Star playing his second exhibition game since arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 2, ran relentlessly throughout most of his 25 minutes for Phoenix, which finished the preseason 5-3. It was a heartening follow up to his 10-point, six-rebound preseason debut Thursday when he played only 18 minutes.

Stoudemire played that much in the first half Friday, appearing more than ready for the season opener.

Green sprained his left ankle early in the second half. The rookie from Georgetown, starting because Kevin Durant was already back in Seattle with his own sprained left ankle, went to the locker room for treatment. He then returned to finish the third period before leaving for the night with 13 points.

Durant, the second overall pick, spent Friday shooting and walking on a treadmill. New coach P.J. Carlesimo said Durant, his rookie shooting guard who turned the ankle late in a game Tuesday, was upbeat and feeling better. Yet Carlesimo didn't know whether Durant will be ready for the opener Wednesday at Denver. Doctors hope to have a better idea after the team returns to practice Sunday.

The Sonics, completely remodeled from the team that went 31-51 last season, finished the preseason 2-6.

"We're nowhere near where we need to be to be successful,'' Carlesimo said before the game.

It was a Sonics home game by designation only. The loud roars of the night from the crowd of 17,704 - many wearing orange or white Suns jerseys with Nash's name and No. 13 on them - came for the Suns. Seattle drew applause that was polite and theater-like by comparison.

"I know it's not official, but I totally feel like the Suns are the team of B.C.,'' Nash said, knowing Canadians still have the Toronto Raptors to call their own. "It feels great. It feels amazing to have so many fans up here.''

Nash also scored 10 points. The best of his assists came midway through the second quarter when scooped a lob pass on the run that Stoudemire soared high above the rim to dunk with both hands.

Leandro Barbosa, last season's NBA sixth man of the year, remained out with bruised ribs sustained in Sunday's exhibition win over Charlotte. But the Suns expect him to be ready for the season opener Thursday at Seattle.

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