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Suns burn up Wizards page 2
Wizards vs Suns

 Phoenix's James Jones (left) and Amare Stoudemire (right) collapse on Washington's Etan Thomas in the second quarter last night.
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Date published: 1/24/2007

continued

"It was like, 'Man, they hit a 3, we need to figure something out [defensively]," Arenas said. "We were trying to figure it out while we were on offense, like, 'Here, I'll pass you the ball.' We were sitting there thinking like, 'Well, we need to trap.' We weren't just going out there and playing a free-for-all like we usually do."

The Suns erupted for 76 points in the first half, when they made 29 of 43 field-goal attempts. Previously, the Wizards had not allowed more than 65 points in an opening half this season.

Seven Suns reached double-figures, and five of them reached that mark by halftime. Backup point guard Leandro Barbosa finished with 10 points and 11 assists, giving Phoenix the rare accomplishment of having two players with double-digit assists.

Arenas scored 31 points to lead Washington, but struggled at the start, making just one of his first seven shots. Caron Butler had a similar curve, as he scored just six first-half points but finished with 24.

The Wizards have made a habit of overcoming large deficits; it is even a role they sometimes relish. But the high-scoring Suns make large leads all but insurmountable.

"They want to score 150," Arenas said. "When they're shooting lights-out, it's hard."

Phoenix made 16 of 23 shots in the first quarter, and Barbosa's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1.6 seconds left gave the visitors a 41-20 lead.

With the Wizards trailing 48-29, Phoenix rolled off a 12-2 run that ended when Nash converted a 3-pointer from the left arc. A 3-pointer by Raja Bell sent Phoenix to halftime ahead 76-51. The Suns made 13 3-pointers in the game.

Butler led a mini-surge for Washington in the third quarter, scoring 14 points. A 3-pointer by Antonio Daniels pulled the Wizards within 111-98 with 6:44 left in the third, but that was as close as they would get.

Afterward, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan offered his impressions of the Suns' dynamic point guard.

"Nash is the MVP," he said, "for reasons we saw tonight."

SUNS 127, WIZARDS 105

PHOENIX (127)

Diaw 7-12 0-2 14, Marion 9-11 3-3 21, Stoudemire 5-6 5-6 15, Bell 8-16 2-2 21, Nash 11-13 2-2 27, Barbosa 3-10 2-2 10, Ja.Jones 4-10 4-4 16, Ju.Jones 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 48-79 18-21 127.

WASHINGTON (105)

Butler 10-22 4-5 24, Jamison 2-8 4-4 9, Haywood 4-8 0-2 8, Stevenson 3-6 0-0 6, Arenas 11-25 6-8 31, Hayes 1-5 0-0 2, Daniels 8-9 2-2 20, Mason 0-2 0-0 0, E.Thomas 1-2 1-2 3, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2, Blatche 0-0 0-0 0, Booth 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-89 17-23 105.

Phoenix

41

35

24

27--

127

Washington

20

31

30

24--

105

3-Point Goals--Phoenix 13-33 (Ja.Jones 4-10, Nash 3-4, Bell 3-10, Barbosa 2-7, Ju.Jones 1-1, Marion 0-1), Washington 6-19 (Arenas 3-9, Daniels 2-2, Jamison 1-2, Butler 0-1, Hayes 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Stevenson 0-1, Mason 0-2). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Phoenix 45 (Bell 8), Washington 43 (Haywood 12). Assists--Phoenix 35 (Nash 14), Washington 14 (Arenas 5). Total Fouls--Phoenix 19, Washington 18. Technicals--Phoenix coach M.D'Antoni, Stoudemire, Butler. A--20,173. (20,173).

To reach ADAM HIMMELSBACH: 540/374-5442
Email: ahimmelsbach@freelancestar.com


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Suns 127, Wizards 105