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Los Angeles at Phoenix

Marion, Nash carry Suns past Clips for win in home opener

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns got their running game in gear -- and a welcome lift from Amare Stoudemire.

The result was a 112-104 home-opening victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

Shawn Marion had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash added 20 points and 11 assists, and Stoudemire scored 15 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

The Suns aren't at full speed yet, but they were fast enough.

"It wasn't always pretty, but we scored 64 points in the second half by playing hard, and that's what we have to do," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Right now we're not in the greatest shape but we just have to push through it, push through the first two weeks and we'll be fine."

Nash had 17 points and eight assists in the second half for a Suns team that last faced the Clippers in winning a seven-game series in the Western Conference semifinals.

Phoenix opened the season with a loss to the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, blowing an early 19-point lead. This time, the Suns had six players in double figures - three of them off the bench.

"We learned a little bit of a lesson last night," Nash said, "that we were kind of passive and kind of laid down after the big lead. Tonight we were going to make sure that our effort was going to be great. We were going to scrap, we were going to be tough, and I think it showed."

Stoudemire, looking strong after missing virtually all of last season following knee surgery, had 15 points in 24 minutes. Marcus Banks scored 13 and Leandro Barbosa 11.

Elton Brand scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Clippers in their season opener. Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell added 17 points apiece. Shaun Livingston scored 14 but was just 4-of-13.

Nash had 13 points and four assists in the third quarter, when the Suns built a 73-59 lead on Boris Diaw's 18-footer with 4:35 to play. But Los Angeles responded with a 15-4 run, capped by Livingston's 17-footer at the buzzer, to cut it to 77-74 entering the fourth.

But Los Angeles got no closer. James Jones started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, triggering a 10-4 spurt that put Phoenix ahead 87-78 on Diaw's 11-foot fadeaway jumper with 8:58 to go. The Clippers got as close as six after that, the last time at 101-95 on Quinton Ross' 13-footer with 3:21 to play.

Diaw, who scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, made a driving layup to make it 103-95, then Mobley was called for an offensive foul. Nash's 18-footer put Phoenix up 105-95 with 2:15 to play.

The Suns shot 1-for-7 to start the game while the Clippers took an 11-3 lead. But after Stoudemire and Barbosa entered the game, Phoenix made 9-of-11 the rest of the quarter, most of them from inside.

Stoudemire finished the quarter 4-for-4 for eight points in 7½ minutes.

"I felt like I was back to my old self," Stoudemire said. "I'm just trying to build up some good days like that."

Stoudemire wasn't happy that he played just 12 minutes in Tuesday night's opener, and D'Antoni agreed he should have used the big forward more.

"We talked about that and we both agreed," Stoudemire said. "It's off to a new day and age, and today was a better day."

The Clippers like a slower tempo, but they fell into the Suns' fast-break trap a few too many times.

"We missed some shots, and when you miss shots, that kind of fuels them," Mobley said. "Their guys get it on the fast break, guys are cutting back door, guys are getting layups, guys were getting 3s."

A 15-4 run to end the first quarter and start the second put Phoenix up for good 28-20 on Jones' two free throws. Banks' inside basket made it 34-26 with 7:36 to go in the half, but Brand and Mobley scored four apiece in an 8-2 spurt that cut the lead to 36-34 with 3:57 to go.

The Suns led 48-45 at the break. Stoudemire had 13 points in 16 minutes at the half, but Nash managed just three points and three assists.

Brand had 14 points and Mobley 10 as the Clippers shot 36 percent in the first two quarters but still trailed by only three.

Notes

  • Tim Thomas, who left Phoenix for a lucrative free agent contract with the Clippers, was booed sporadically and finished the game 2-for-8 for nine points with eight rebounds.
  • The Suns have not started a season 0-2 since 1996-97, when they went a franchise-worst 0-13.
  • Brand scored fewer than 30 points against Phoenix for only the second time in the teams' last nine meetings.
  • Phoenix's Kurt Thomas fouled out with 7:12 to play -- after just 13 minutes on the court.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Shawn Marion makes his presence felt as he provides 27 points and 10 boards vs. the Clips.  (Getty Images)
Shawn Marion makes his presence felt as he provides 27 points and 10 boards vs. the Clips. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
L.A. Clippers (0-1) 20252930104
Phoenix (1-1) «24242935112
LAC:E. Brand 28 Pts
LAC:E. Brand 13 Reb
LAC:S. Cassell 4 Ast
PHO:S. Marion 27 Pts
PHO:S. Marion 10 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 11 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixLos Angeles

S. Marion

E. Brand
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2710128132

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Los Angeles
C. Mobley, SG446-144-722317
E. Brand, PF4013-222-2132328
S. Livingston, PG394-134-443514
T. Thomas, SF302-84-48159
C. Kaman, C244-91-29029
Q. Ross, SG333-74-440310
S. Cassell, PG236-145-634417
C. Maggette, SG70-20-01010
A. Williams, PFDid Not Play
Z. Rebraca, CDid Not Play
D. Ewing, GDid Not Play
Y. Korolev, FDid Not Play
J. Singleton, PFDid Not Play
P. Davis, CDid Not Play
Totals 38-8924-29441226104
 42.7%82.8% 
Phoenix
S. Marion, SF4110-186-7101527
S. Nash, PG387-94-4111120
R. Bell, SG351-62-22244
B. Diaw, SG317-101-352115
K. Thomas, PF121-20-04062
L. Barbosa, PG354-123-374111
A. Stoudemire, C256-123-440315
M. Banks, PG154-65-541313
J. Jones, SF91-22-22015
E. Piatkowski, SGDid Not Play
S. Marks, PFDid Not Play
J. Jones, SFDid Not Play
P. Burke, CDid Not Play
Totals 41-7726-30392125112
 53.2%86.7% 
Other Games
Ind 106 Final
Char 99
Atl 75 Final
Phi 88
Chi 94 Final
Orl 109
NO 91 Final
Bos 87
Tor 92 Final
NJ 102
Wash 94 Final
Cle 97
Sac 83 Final
Min 92
Mil 105 Final
Det 97
NY 118 Final
Mem 117
Hou 97 Final
Utah 107
Port 110 Final
Sea 106
LAL 110 Final
GS 98