Suns set franchise mark with 16th straight victory
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – Raja Bell poured in 27 points, shooting 7-
of-11 from behind the arc, and the scorching Phoenix Suns won their
franchise-record 16th straight, 98-90, over the surprisingly pesky Milwaukee
Amare Stoudemire scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Suns, who
have now won 34 of 37 since starting the season by losing five of six. The
16-game winning streak breaks the franchise record of 15, which Phoenix tied
earlier this season, between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19. The Suns then lost two of
three before starting their current streak on Dec. 29.
“We’re proud of the streak and what we’ve done, I’m really happy about it,”
said Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Steve Nash finished with 18 points and 16 assists for the Suns, and Shawn
Marion pulled down 23 rebounds and added 11 points.
Charlie Bell scored 21 for Milwaukee, which gave the Suns a game before
falling to their sixth straight defeat. Earl Boykins scored 18 points, and
Charlie Villanueva added 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Ersan Ilysova
also scored 13 and grabbed seven boards for the Bucks.
An Andrew Bogut hook shot brought the Bucks to within 93-90 with 1:34 left,
capping a late 9-2 Milwaukee run, but Bucks did not score another point.
Bell put the nail in the Milwaukee coffin with a three-pointer from
the corner that put the Suns up 96-90 with 19.9 seconds left. The Bucks could
not answer on the offensive end, and two Nash free throws sealed the win.
“Phoenix is a championship-caliber team,” said Bucks head coach Terry Stotts.
“We were in a position to win but we just came up short.”
Phoenix seemed ready to pull away with a 12-0 run midway through the third
quarter, with a Bell three-pointer and a Nash jumper capping the stretch.
Nash’s basket put Phoenix up 73-59 with 4:37 left in the third, then he
followed with a layup to make it 75-61. The Bucks answered with eight straight
of their own, and only trailed 78-71 entering the final 12 minutes.
The Suns started off the game looking as if they would take their 16th
straight with ease, as the Bucks struggled early. A Marion layup with just
under four minutes left put the Suns up 20-9. Milwaukee answered with seven
straight, though, and trailed 22-16 heading into the second quarter.
Bell hit back-to-back treys early in the second quarter, with the second
posting the Suns to a 32-20 advantage with 10:18 left in the first half. The
Bucks answered with some hot shooting from their bench, though, as Ilyasova
hit three three-pointers, and Lynn Greer added another to power a 12-0 run
that tied the game at 32-32.
Phoenix held a 52-50 lead at the break.
Marion’s 23 rebounds were a season-high for a Suns player…Ruben Patterson’s
leg hit Marion’s throat late in the fourth quarter while Patterson was jumping
for a rebound. Patterson landed hard on his leg, then limped noticeably during
play for the next minute before being taken out. Marion stayed in the game.