Monday , Feb , 05 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Marion, Nash, Stoudemire deserve to be in All-Star Game

(Sports Network) – Reigning MVP Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire were all named as reserves to the Western Conference roster for the All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, February 18th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Nash will appear in his fifth All-Star game, while Marion will participate in his fourth and Stoudemire in his second mid-season classic. These three All- Stars have been awesome for the Suns, who own an impressive 37-10 record and an 8 1/2 game lead over the second place Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division.

Marion, who is third on the team in scoring (18.4 ppg), leads the Suns in rebounding (10.1 rpg), while Nash has posted team-highs in points (19.5 ppg) and assists (11.9 apg).

Stoudemire, who is averaging 18.9 points and 9.2 rebounds this season, has scored in double-digits in 36 straight games and has collected 25 double- doubles this season.

Two of the most explosive teams in the NBA battle on Monday, as the Denver Nuggets welcome the Suns to the Pepsi Center. It is the first meeting of the season between the clubs. The Suns and Nuggets were supposed to play on December 20th, but the game was rescheduled because of poor weather conditions in Denver.

The Suns have won three of its last four at Denver. The Suns have won two in a row and seven of the last eight contests in the series

Phoenix attempts to avoid losing back-to-back games against the Nuggets since November, when it dropped four in a row in the beginning of the month. On Saturday, Mehmet Okur scored 29 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, hitting the go-ahead bucket with 5.1 seconds left, as the Utah Jazz defeated the Suns, 108-105, at US Airways Center.

Stoudemire had 28 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to Utah for the Suns, who have dropped two of three since recording 17 straight victories. Nash tallied 22 points and 10 assists for Phoenix, which had a 10-game home winning streak halted.

The Suns, who play the opener of a brief two-game road trip versus Denver, are 17-6 on the road this season. Phoenix is scheduled to visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday at the Rose Garden.

On the injury front for Phoenix, guard Raja Bell (inflammation in left knee) is questionable for Monday’s contest. Bell, who is averaging 15.1 points per game, did not play against Utah and has missed four games this season.

02/05 13:55:38 ET

PHO