Phoenix (37-17) at Houston (25-31)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Mon Feb 27, 2006
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Shawn Marion’s latest effort apparently wasn’t as good as his previous one.

Marion, fresh off a pair of huge games, hopes to help the surging Phoenix Suns to a seventh straight win when they visit the Houston Rockets.

Marion had 31 points and a career-high 24 rebounds in Phoenix’s 136-121 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday. That effort came after a career-high 44-point, 15-rebound effort in Wednesday’s 103-94 win over the Boston Celtics.

“Shawn Marion scored 31 points and (had) 24 rebounds and didn’t play as well as he did in the last game,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He is on a roll. He is just amazing.”

Marion became the first Sun to score at least 30 points and grab at least 20 rebounds since Charles Barkley had 34 points and 26 rebounds on March 24, 1995. Marion easily recorded his league-leading 42nd double-double by halftime—his ninth in 10 games—to help the Suns rally from a 74-68 halftime deficit.

“We came out with a little more energy in the second half and we were more aggressive,” Marion said. “We started getting deflections and we got more active in the passing lanes and that opened the game for us in the third quarter. Then, we got stops when we needed to.”

Although the Suns are accustomed to playing high-scoring games, the poor defensive effort in the first half against the lowly Bobcats is something Phoenix wants to avoid.

“We have to be more active against Houston Rockets to win against them,” D’Antoni said. “Our offense is good and easy and we scored so many points tonight and we didn’t really have James Jones tonight and we have to get him back.”

Jones returned after missing two games with a sprained right wrist and was ineffective, missing all nine shots in 28 minutes off the bench.

Houston, meanwhile, continues to make a push toward the .500 level.

The Rockets won for the 10th time in 12 games, 89-84 over the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Yao Ming turned in his third straight double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds.

Yao is averaging 21.3 points and 10.8 rebounds over the last 12 games, including eight double-doubles.

“I think we have a great opportunity to make the playoffs right now,” Yao said. “I’m not looking for another team and what their record is. All I know is if we play the right way, we’ll get a victory.”

The Rockets enter on a season-high four-game home winning streak, but the Suns have four straight at Houston.

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