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>>caption: SHAQ (#32) AND SHEED
(#30) BATTLE UNDER THE BASKET<<
@ PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS:
A combination of Suns helped
Phoenix defeat Detroit 107-97
Sunday night. However, it was
the Big Man who took over the
came in the critical 2nd-Qtr.
The first frame featured three lead changes and a dozen ties, ending in
a 29-all deadlock. Phoenix then outscored the Pistons 33-21 in the 2nd-Qtr
when Shaquille O'Neal potted nine of his 20-P in the contest.
The Suns held a 62-50 halftime lead and the Pistons could only close to
within 4-P during the 2nd-H, 76-72 with 3:10 left in the 3rd-Qtr on an Allen
Iverson assisted Rip Hamilton jumper.
Shaq added 10-RB to go with his 20-P. Onetime Michigan Stater Jason
Richardson led the Suns with 21-P. Subject of much trade speculastion with
the approaching FEB 19TH NBA dealing deadline, Amare Stoudemire had 18-P
and 7-RB. Reserve Leandro Barbosa had 17-P. Steve Nash added 15-P with
21-A, one shy of his career-high for helpers and one short of the NBA-high
in assists this season. Onetime Piston Grant Hill had 10-P.
Hamilton had a game-high 27-P and Iverson added 25-P for Detroit, although
A.I. was only 4-for-13 shooting in the 2nd-H. Rasheed Wallace scored 16-P with
10-RB and Tayshaun Prince 11-P. Antonio McDyess (4-P) grabbed a game-high 13-RB.
Phoenix coach Terry Porter, the former Pistons assistant, briefly left the court
in the 2nd-Qtr due to illness.
Both teams entered the contest with 27-21 records.
After having its brief two-game win string stopped, Detroit has now lost 11-of-17
and was swept 2-0 by Phoenix in the season series.
The Piston Sunday jinx continued. They're now 1-9 on Sundays this season.
PISTONS H-COACH MICHAEL CURRY: "“I thought the tempo was OK for us, I just
thought that we didn’t do a good job of having good floor balance. When shots
went up, we were buried in the corner or we were crossed-match (with defenders)
and we didn’t do a good job in transition...Twenty-one assists. It’s a heck of a job.
[Nash] was hitting guys in the open areas. They’ve been trying to get back to
more of an up-tempo team and that's where flourishes, when he can get out in
the open court and make plays.”
PISTONS GD ALLEN IVERSON: "They just kept coming at us. "They kept executing.
They didn't get rattled and they kept going, and me stinking up the gym the way
I did in the second half didn't help."
PISTONS GD RODNEY STUCKEY: "They just got out and just ran us into the ground.''
SUNS GD STEVE NASH: "I'd like to give credit to my teammates that made the plays,
got open for me (for his 21-A) and found some lanes to get into the paint. They
deserve a lot of the credit."
SUNS FWD AMARE STOUDEMIRE: "It's all about what they want to do financially
(concerning a possible trade). I have no control over that. We'll see how it plays out.''
SUNS H-COACH TERRY PORTER: "This has been a long night. Thank God it is over, but
I'll be sick all season if we get effort like that.''
Nash passed Lenny Wilkins for 10th place on the all-time NBA assists list.
Sunday was the first time in his six visits to the Palace Hill has come away
with a win against his former team.
The Pistons will follow their one-game homestand by making a one-game
trip to Chicago Tuesday night.
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