Monday , Mar , 12 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

All-Stars continue to lead Phoenix

(Sports Network) – All-Stars Shawn Marion, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire
have led Phoenix to an impressive 48-14 record. The Suns lead the second-place
Lakers by a comfortable 16 games in the Pacific Division, and are 4 1/2 games
behind the Southwest Division-leading Dallas Mavericks for the top spot in the
Western Conference.

The Houston Rockets and Suns, who are headed towards their third straight
Pacific Division crown, put their winning streaks on the line Monday night, as
the teams battle at US Airways Center. It is the third of four meetings
between the clubs this season. The Suns have won both meetings this season and
five in a row overall in the series.

Houston has lost two straight after winning its last two at Phoenix. The
Rockets are scheduled to host the Suns on April 16th.

The Suns, who play the finale of a five-game homestand, enter Monday’s contest
on a four-game winning streak. Stoudemire poured in 18 points and grabbed 11
rebounds as Phoenix survived a late scare and held off the New
Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, 104-103, on Friday at US Airways Center.

Leandro Barbosa finished with 19 points off the bench in the win over the
Hornets, while Raja Bell netted 17 for the Suns, who have won nine of their
last 10 games overall. Reigning MVP Nash scored 15 points and dished out 10
assists, while Boris Diaw ended with 14 points and nine boards in the victory.

Diaw (back stiffness) is probable for Monday’s contest. He has missed nine
games this season, and is averaging 9.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists
in 53 contests.

Phoenix is an impressive 25-6 at home this season. The Suns, who have won five
in a row at home, will visit the NBA-best Mavericks on Wednesday at American
Airlines Center.

The Suns are 0-2 against Dallas this season. They will host the Mavericks on
April 1st at US Airways Center.

Stoudemire is averaging a team-best 20.6 points per game, while Marion leads
the team in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and Nash has dished out a league-best 11.7
assists per contest.