Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Phoenix Suns Team Report – April 5

=== Phoenix Suns Team Report – April 5 ===

(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns host the fading Los Angeles Lakers on
Tuesday at America West Arena.

The Suns are No. 1 in the West, as they have a two-game lead over the
Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs for the top overall spot in the
conference.

It is the third meeting of the season between the Lakers and Suns. In the two
previous contests, Phoenix defeated LA at home on November 19th and at the
Staples Center on December 8th. The teams will play for a fourth and final
time in the 2004-05 campaign on April 11th at the Staples Center.

The road team has won four of the last six meetings in this series, while the
home team has won 12 of the last 17 contests. The Lakers have lost five of
their last eight at Phoenix.

The Lakers are on the brink of missing the postseason for the first time since
1994. LA, which is 33-40 and has nine games left on its schedule, trail the
Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies by 8 1/2 games for the final playoff
berth in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies host the Nuggets tonight at
FedExForum. Memphis and Denver are both 41-31.

Phoenix continues to play winning basketball, as it enters Tuesday’s contest
on a five-game winning streak. On Sunday, Shawn Marion scored 23 points and
grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Suns over the Houston Rockets, 91-78, at the
Toyota Center. Joe Johnson added 19 points and Jim Jackson scored 15 for the
NBA-leading Suns, who have won eight of their last nine games overall.

Center Amare Stoudemire played just 27 minutes because of foul trouble during
Sunday’s win for Phoenix. He finished with nine points and 14 rebounds, while
MVP candidate Steve Nash dished out a game-high 11 assists.

Nash has finished in double-digits in assists in 14 straight games, which is
the longest streak for this achievement since Mark Jackson did it as a member
of the Nuggets in the 1996-1997 campaign. He is averaging 15.9 points and 11.9
assists in his last 10 contests.

Marion has registered consecutive double-doubles and has recorded 12 in his
last 13 contests. He is averaging 22.4 points and 13.6 rebounds in his last 10
games.

Phoenix, which is 30-7 in games decided by 10 points or more this season, has
scored at least 100 points in 24 of its last 25 games. The Suns, who have
scored under 100 points only 10 times this campaign, are 23-3 when they allow
under 100 points.

The Suns, who are 9-2 in Tuesday games this season, are 26-9 at home. They
have won three straight and are 7-3 in their last 10 at America West Arena.

Phoenix will visit the Golden State Warriors on Friday and will then host the
Houston Rockets on Saturday. The Suns will play six of their final nine games
at home.

PHO