<
>

Suns coast to sixth straight victory

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns were off and running as never
before on Sunday night, and the Indiana Pacers hardly knew what hit
them.

Shawn Marion scored 21 points and Amare Stoudemire had 20 points
and 14 rebounds to help the Suns rout the Pacers 124-89 on Sunday
night for their sixth straight victory and NBA-best 30th of the
year, one more than they won all of last season.

Phoenix's 30-4 start ties the 1959-60 Boston Celtics and 1971-72
Milwaukee Bucks for the best start for a team with four losses in
NBA history.

Joe Johnson added 15, Quentin Richardson 14, and Steve Nash,
Steven Hunter and Maceij Lampe each scored 10 in the Suns'
highest-scoring game since the 1999-2000 season.

"It's a blast, man, especially when we come out like we did
tonight," Marion said. "The crowd was into it, we were into it,
we were all pumped up. We just ran away with it right from the
jump, and they didn't show no signs of life out there."

Next up for Phoenix is a home showdown with Shaquille O'Neal and
the Miami Heat on Tuesday night -- a matchup of conference leaders.

Phoenix never trailed, blowing open a 22-point lead in the first
quarter, 25 in the second and 38 in the third and 42 in the fourth.

"Obviously, we played well," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.
"Everyone played exactly the way they were supposed to play."

The Pacers fell to 0-3 on their road trip with a stop left in
Memphis. Indiana has lost those three -- against San Antonio, Dallas
and Phoenix -- by a combined 68 points.

Jamaal Tinsley scored 21 and Jermaine O'Neal 16 for the Pacers.

The Suns, home after a three-game road trip, had the pedal to
the floor from the start, opening up a 15-3 lead on Marion's
3-pointer, then 22-5 on Stoudemire's fastbreak stuff with 5:44 left
in the quarter.

"I wouldn't say shellshocked, but they were stunned a little
bit," Marion said. "We just hit them by surprise. That's our
first meeting with them this year. It was probably going through
their mind like 'Man' and they were tired, too."

Both teams had played Saturday night.

"They jumped on us early. It was tough," Tinsley said.
"They're hard to guard."

Phoenix led by 22 twice in the first quarter, the last time at
31-9 on Richardson's turnaround 10-footer from the baseline with
1:56 left.

The Suns got the lead to 25 late in the second quarter, the last
time at 65-40 after Nash's 19-footer with 22 seconds to play.
Tinsley's layup made it 65-42 at the break.

Phoenix started the second half with a 10-2 run to go up 75-44
on Marion's 13-foot turnaround jumper with 8:43 left in the third
quarter.

Moments later, Marion blocked Reggie Miller's shot, then floated
in for an acrobatic layup to make it 77-47. Hunter's rebound dunk
put the Suns up 97-59 after three quarters.

"Hey, there's a reason they're 30-4," Indiana coach Rick
Carlisle said. "They're really good."

Game notes
The teams play again at Indiana on Friday. ... Phoenix had
win streaks of nine, 11 and five games after its first three
losses. ... The Pacers are 1-7 against Western Conference teams on
the road. ... The Suns' previous highest-scoring game this season
was 122 (twice) and biggest victory margin was 32.