Stoudemire sparks Suns' team-record 15th straight win

PHOENIX (AP) -- No. 15 in a row was a breeze for the Suns.

Amare Stoudemire dominated with 28 points and 10 rebounds in 28

minutes, and the Suns set a franchise record for consecutive

victories by beating the Toronto Raptors 115-98 Tuesday night.

Elias Says

Phoenix Suns
The Suns started the season 3-6 before going on their 15-game win streak. That's the longest run of success for a team that started the streak three games under .500.
2006-07 Suns3-615
1993-94 Hawks1-414
1978-79 Lakers1-415

"I'm just playing Phoenix Suns basketball." Stoudemire said.

"Tonight it was working my way, but as a team we came out and

played great basketball all the way around."

The Suns try to extend the NBA's longest winning streak in seven

seasons at Denver on Wednesday night.

Stoudemire was 11-for-14 from the field and sat out the final 15

minutes in arguably his most impressive outing since he returned

after missing all but three games of last season following

microfracture knee surgery.

"He's just so much quicker than most big guys," Toronto coach

Sam Mitchell said. "Our guys tried to get back and were running

hard, but it's just so hard to run with him. He gets down the court

so quick and he sucks in the defense. You very rarely see forwards

that fast."

Elias Says

Steve Nash
The Suns took a 19-point halftime lead over Toronto and then extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 115-98 victory. Steve Nash had 13 assists in the first half, tying his career high for any half. The last NBA player with more assists in a half was Jason Kidd, who had 14 over the first two quarters for Phoenix on March 6, 2000, against Miami.

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

Steve Nash had 10 points and 15 assists in three quarters for

Phoenix, which hasn't lost since an overtime setback at Utah on

Nov. 18. Six Suns reached double figures on Tuesday night. Shawn

Marion scored 17, Leandro Barbosa 14, Raja Bell 13 and Boris Diaw


"They are playing unbelievably well and have a lot of

confidence," Raptors center Rasho Nesterovic said. "Steve Nash is

just the head of the snake. He's unbelievable. You have to be in

perfect position the whole game to play good defense. Otherwise,

he'll punish you."

The Suns broke the franchise record of 14 straight set Dec.

1-30, 1992. The 15-game streak is the longest in the NBA since the

Los Angeles Lakers won 19 in a row from Feb. 4 to March 13, 2000.

"What does it really mean? Not much," Nash said, "but I think

it's fun, and I think it's an accomplishment nonetheless. We should

probably be proud of ourselves but at the same time realize it

doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, either."

T.J. Ford scored 19 for injury-depleted Toronto before leaving

in the fourth quarter with a bruised lower back. Top draft pick

Andrea Bargnani added 18 for the Raptors.

Phoenix led by 27 in the third quarter, when coach Mike D'Antoni

began to rest his regulars. Bell scored the first seven points,

then Nash and Marion sank 3-pointers in a 17-0 outburst that gave

Phoenix a 75-50 with 5:54 to play in the third quarter.

"Everybody pitched in during certain spots in the game and made

two or three shots," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I thought

our defense was pretty good all night, and it was good we held them

to 40 percent shooting, and we're getting better."

Stoudemire scored 22 points in the first half on 10-of-13

shooting, many of them emphatic dunks on passes from Nash. The

Suns' MVP point guard was 0-for-5 shooting in the first half but

had 13 assists as Phoenix took a 53-42 lead at the break.

Stoudemire, who made 10 of his first 11 shots, had two

spectacular stuffs to ignite a 12-3 run that put Phoenix ahead

49-36 on Bell's 18-footer with 3:12 to play, the only basket for

the Suns' starting backcourt in the first half.

Ford had 11 points in the first half for Toronto, playing the

opener of a four-game road trip.<

^Notes:@ According to his agent, Allen Iverson probably won't

play for the Nuggets on Wednesday. ... The NBA record for

consecutive victories is 33 set by the Lakers from Nov. 5, 1971, to

Jan. 7, 1972. ... The Raptors' Jorge Garbajosa left the game in the

first half with a right calf strain. ...Toronto's Chris Bosh has

missed the last six games with a bruised left knee. ... Nash had

nine assists in the first quarter. ... It was the Raptors' first

trip to Phoenix since Bryan Colangelo resigned as Suns president

for a similar post in Toronto.