Sacramento (8-8) at Phoenix (9-6)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Tue Dec 5, 2006
  • TV: CSCA, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A long winning streak has helped the Phoenix Suns overcome their early struggles. Another losing streak has negated a strong start by the Sacramento Kings.

The Suns (9-6) look to extend their six-game winning streak and continue their recent dominance at home Tuesday when they take on the struggling Kings.

Phoenix has won eight of nine overall since a 1-5 start, and six straight at home. The Suns have an average margin of victory during their winning streak of 8.8 points, scoring 107.8 points per game. They have shot 48.9 percent from the field in that span, including 42.3 percent (60-for-142) from 3-point range.

The club is enjoying its longest regular-season win streak since an 11-game run from Feb. 8-March 6.

“Right now it’s a matter of getting wins,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “And where we started in such a hole, we can’t afford much losses along the way. We need a good seed for April.”

Shawn Marion scored 27 points—12 in the fourth quarter—and grabbed 14 rebounds Friday to help the Suns hold off Milwaukee 122-116. Steve Nash had 27 points and 11 assists, Amare Stoudemire added 22 points and 11 rebounds, Leandro Barbosa had 20 points and Raja Bell 18 for the Suns, who narrowly missed having five players score 20 points in a game for the first time since Nov. 10, 1990.

“We’ve got lots of guys who can score,” said Nash, who leads the team with 20.5 points and 10.8 assists per game. “We’re only going to get better, hopefully, with our chemistry and experience. Offense is not going to be our problem.”

After being held scoreless in a win Nov. 22 over New Orleans, Stoudemire has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of his last four games. He is averaging 22.2 points and 11.7 rebounds during that stretch.

Sacramento (8-8) has lost three straight for the second time after winning five of its first seven games. The Kings haven’t lost four straight since Dec. 14-26, when they dropped five in a row.

“We can’t just wait to play hard until the end of the game,” Kings guard Mike Bibby said. “It’s still early in the season. We just need to bounce back into the game.”

Sacramento lost 92-89 to Orlando at home on Monday.

The Kings will now try to bounce back on the road, where it has lost two straight and five of seven for the season. They allowing 101.4 points per game away from Arco Arena, where they have limited teams to 93.9 points per game.

Sacramento is unlikely to have its defensive stopper, Ron Artest, who has missed two straight games with a sore lower back. Artest has battled the injury all season.

“You never give up,” Kings center Brad Miller said. “We’re a veteran team. We’re not going to quit.”

Bibby had a team-high 19 points and seven assists against the Magic after scoring just 20 points combined in his previous two games.

Sacramento and Phoenix split their four-game series last season, with the Kings winning the last two.

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Scoreboard

Tuesday, Dec 5