Saturday , Dec , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Marion leads Suns past Celtics

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Shawn Marion scored 29 points, grabbed 12
rebounds, and scored Phoenix’s last four points to ice a 116-111 Suns win over
the Boston Celtics.

Phoenix showed no signs of dead legs less than 24 hours after its marathon
161-157 double overtime win in New Jersey on Thursday night. Steve Nash scored
16 and doled out 14 assists as the Suns ran to their ninth straight victory.
Raja Bell and Boris Diaw contributed 14 points each for Phoenix.

Paul Pierce carried the Celtics with 36 points, but only 11 of those came in
the second half. Tony Allen and Ryan Gomes scored 18 each for Boston, which
fell for the fifth game in a row. Sebastian Telfair scored 14 points for the
Celtics.

Marion’s two free throws with 11 seconds left put the Celtics away after
Pierce drilled a long three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining to bring Boston
to within 114-111.

Boston pulled to within one possession of Phoenix four times over the final
two minutes, but the Suns always answered, keeping the Celtics at arms length.

“You could tell we just were not sharp, but we kind of expected it,” said Suns
head coach Mike D’Antoni. “We grinded it out and gutted it out and got the
win, and that’s the important thing.”

A Telfair layup had put Boston up 79-71 with just under four minutes left in
the third quarter, but Phoenix closed the quarter on a 9-2 run, pulling to
within 81-80 on a three from Bell with 21 seconds left.

Pierce went off in the latter stages of the first quarter, scoring Boston’s
last 11 points. He accomplished this on only two field goals, both three-
pointers, coupled with five free throws down the stretch. The end result was
an 18-point first quarter for Pierce, who’s last two free throws brought the
Celtics to within 35-33 heading into the second quarter.

“I just wanted to come out aggressive from the start,” said Pierce.

The two teams played a neck-and-neck second quarter, and the score was tied
54-54 with just over two minutes left in the half. Marion hit two free throws
with just over a minute left, then drilled a three with 37 seconds left to
send the Suns into halftime up 59-54.

Game Notes

Phoenix has won five in a row in Boston…Kurt Thomas scored 10 points and
raked in 11 rebounds off of the Phoenix bench…The Suns had 19 turnovers, to
only 11 by Boston…Pierce made 7-of-14 from behind the three-point arc.

BOS PHO