NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 11th (All times eastern)
Orlando Magic (17-5) at Phoenix Suns (15-7), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns hope to remain perfect at home Friday night when they welcome one of the NBA's true road warriors to the desert, the Orlando Magic.
The Suns, who are the NBA's only remaining unbeaten team at home, are 7-0 at US Airways Center this season.
Alvin Gentry's club is coming in to tonight's contest on a bit of a down note, however, having dropped four of their last five games, including a tough 102-101 setback to the Mavericks in Dallas on Tuesday. Dirk Nowitzki poured in 33 points and pulled down eight rebounds in that one.
Steve Nash scored 27 and had eight assists for the Suns, who suffered their fourth straight defeat on the road. Jason Richardson scored 25 and Amare Stoudemire 20 in defeat.
Phoenix trailed by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, but later used a 9-2 run to get within 98-96 on a Richardson three-pointer with 21.8 seconds to go.
Jason Terry was able to make a pair from the charity stripe, but Nash countered with a three-ball with 7.9 seconds left. Terry again made two foul shots, but the Mavs elected to foul Nash in the backcourt and he was true on both his attempts for a 102-101 difference.
Phoenix again fouled Terry, this time with 2.4 seconds to go, but after he missed the first attempt, Terry intentionally clanked the second one of the rim. The Suns were out of timeouts, so Stoudemire had little time to get up a desperation shot after securing the rebound, but the attempt from beyond half- court was well off the mark.
"Too little too late," said Nash. "We didn't play well tonight. We also let them out of the bag there for a small stretch in the second half, and couldn't get them back. So very frustrating."
The Magic, meanwhile, are coming off their first road loss in over a month, a 120-111 setback in Utah last night. Deron Williams nearly recorded a triple- double, totaling 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds in that one for Utah, snapping the Magic's single-season franchise record eight-game road winning streak.
Vince Carter had a game-high 34 points for Orlando, which had won six straight coming into the game and fell to 10-3 as the visitor. Dwight Howard logged 18 points and 10 boards, while Matt Barnes and Ryan Anderson had 17 and 16 points, respectively, in defeat.
"They just played a lot harder, a lot more energy and a lot more focus than we did," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They dominated us, we didn't run back, we didn't move on offense. We played with no energy."
Orlando's last loss outside Orlando came on Nov. 8 at Oklahoma City while last night's setback also kept the Magic from notching their best 22-game start in franchise history.
Orlando has won two straight over the Suns, including a 112-100 triumph in central Florida last month, but hasn't tasted victory in Phoenix since Nov. 14, 2001.
12/11 10:34:17 ET