The Sun will rise in Phoenix
(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns did not get off to the start that they
were hoping for in the 2003-04 season.
But, things are starting to look brighter in Phoenix.
On Thursday, the Suns used a total team effort to spoil Johnny Davis’ Magic
coaching debut with a 96-89 victory over Orlando at America West Arena.
“Obviously this was a big win for us tonight,” Phoenix coach Frank Johnson
said after Thursday’s game. “I told the guys, 28 and 12 those are the numbers
I love seeing… 28 assists and only 12 turnovers. We were very efficient
offensively. You look at the number of players in double figures and you see
seven players in double figures, and Penny with seven points. That makes
almost eight players in doubles and that is very pleasing to me. It was just a
good win for us.”
The two stars for Phoenix shined in the win over Orlando as Shawn Marion and
Stephon Marbury led seven Suns players in double figures. Marion finished with
16 points on 6-of-13 from the field in 37 minutes of action, while Marbury
added 14 points, 11 assists and just one turnover in 41 minutes.
Also contributing to the victory were Jake Voskuhl, who poured in 13. Amare
Stoudemire and Joe Johnson both netted 12 apiece, and Scott Williams and Zarko
Cabarkapa each chipped in with 10 points.
“You have to expect good things when your team has seven players in double
figures,” Marbury said after defeating the Magic. “My eleven assists came off
of people just being in the right place and our team playing together and
being on the same page. That is the type of play that will eventually have us
turning the corner.”
The Suns (5-6) have now won two straight after losing three in a row.
“I wouldn’t say that we have turned the corner just yet, but I would
definitely say that we are headed in the right direction,” said Marbury “This
was a good win for us and we were all on the same page tonight.”
If Phoenix wants to play in the postseason it will have to rely on Marion and
Marbury to lead the way as they did against Orlando.
So far this season, the 26-year-old Marbury leads the Suns in scoring (19.9
ppg), assists (7.9 apg) and steals (1.73). He is shooting just under 43
percent from the field and is averaging 41 minutes on the hardwood a night.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Marion is second on the team in scoring (17.1 ppg),
rebounds (8.5 rpg), blocks (1.64 bpg) and steals (1.55 spg.) He is playing
just over 40 minutes per night and is hitting on 43.6 percent of his shots
from the floor.
The third wheel is Stoudemire, who was the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year. He has
been a solid third option for Phoenix, averaging 16.0 points and a team-best
9.7 rebounds this season.
The Sun is starting to rise in Phoenix, and if Marbury and Marion can lead the
way with Stoudemire and the rest of the supporting cast following, it could
get interesting in the Valley of the Sun.