NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Seattle
(Thursday, November 1st)
Final Score: Phoenix 106, Seattle 99
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire scored a team-high 23 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to help the Phoenix Suns outdistance the Seattle SuperSonics down the stretch for a 106-99 win at KeyArena.
Stoudemire added 11 rebounds and was one of three players to register a double-double for the Suns, who won their first season opener in three years. Steve Nash, with 18 points and 12 assists and Shawn Marion, with 14 points and 11 rebounds, were the other two.
Rookie Kevin Durant scored a game-high 27 points for Seattle, which dropped its home opener for the third season in a row. Chris Wilcox registered the team's only double-double, with 23 points and 11 rebounds, as the Sonics have dropped both of their games this season.
The game's pivotal stretch came in a span between the third and fourth quarters, when the Suns grabbed the momentum in a close game that had 24 lead changes and was tied 26 times.
Seattle's Wally Szczerbiak hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds left in the third to push the Sonics' lead to 82-73. But the Suns embarked on a 13-0 run to grab the lead, and never gave it back.
Marcus Banks was the main proponent of the run, hitting three consecutive three-pointers. Stoudemire finished the run with a pair of jumpers, the last one with 10:07 left in the game, making the score 86-82, Suns.
The Sonics did trim the deficit to three points twice in the final five minutes, both times on a shot by Durant. The final time, Durant hit a three to make the score 96-93, with 3:44 left.
But Seattle got no closer, as Nash and Stoudemire scored the Suns' final 10 points to lead Phoenix to the victory.
"I thought our guys played hard and fought all the way through," Seattle head coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "(The Suns) stepped up their defense and we slowed down a bit."
It was somewhat fortunate, too, considering the Suns committed 20 turnovers.
"We started out slow and our defense was not very good..we did find a way to win and that was the important thing," Nash said. "We just have to continue to play hard and we will get the results."
The fourth quarter was a change from the rest of the game, as Seattle kept the lead for most of the other three. Despite the lead changes, the Sonics were generally one step ahead of the Suns.
They held the greatest lead of the first and second quarters - four and seven points, respectively. Most of all, Seattle built up a nine-point lead in the third.
With 2:11 left in that quarter, Seattle held a 74-72 advantage and went on a brief, but effective, 8-1 run. Szczerbiak polished it off with a pair of three-pointers and it looked like Seattle might build upon the lead.
But Seattle lost its shooting touch - making just seven of 20 field goal attempts - and committed five turnovers. And the Suns fought back, which was a defining characteristic of Thursday's game. Each team had an answer when needed, as with the end of the first half.
With the lead fluctuating in the second quarter, Grant Hill hit a three with 1:35 left to trim the Sonics' lead to 51-50. Wilcox hit a jumper for another three-point Seattle lead. Nash answered back with a three of his own to tie the score and Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa gave his team a two-point lead with a layup.
Wilcox tied the game again with an alley-oop layup, and, following a Suns turnover, Wilcox drilled a halfcourt shot at the buzzer for a 58-55 lead heading into the break.
Hill had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists in his Suns debut...Barbosa was questionable coming into the game for Phoenix, but contributed nine points...The Suns' home opener is Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers...Durant is the youngest opening night starter in Seattle's history...The Sonics are now 3-2 versus the Suns in home openers.
11/02 02:22:35 ET