The Phoenix Suns preserved their 100 per cent home record this season with an 116-104 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Amare Stoudemire scored 28 points and 14 rebounds while Steve Nash hit 25 points and 13 assists as the Suns extended the NBA's only unbeaten home record to 9-0. "We are a gritty team," the Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "We compete. We feel like we can compete against the majority of the teams in the league."
San Antonio's Tim Duncan scored a season-high 34 points and made 14 rebounds for the Spurs. The Suns led 67-52 at half-time before the Spurs cut a 20-point deficit in the third quarter, but could not hold them off in the fourth. Phoenix ended a string of three losses to the Spurs who have proved to be the Pacific Division team's nemesis in recent years. The Suns missed the post-season a year ago, but were eliminated from the play-offs by San Antonio in three of their previous four post-season appearances.
The winners of four NBA titles since the 1998/99 campaign, the Spurs had won their last three heading into the game but could not carry their momentum past the Suns. Phoenix got an unexpected boost from reserve Goran Dragic who scored 18 points, a career-high, and made four of the team's 11 three-pointers. The Suns have stayed among the top teams in the Western Conference despite playing a league record 16 games on the road. They play 10 of their next 13 at home.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant came up with 42 points as the Los Angeles Lakers saw off the Chicago Bulls 96-87 to maintain their dominance of the Western Conference.Bryant scored 25 of his points in the first half with Pau Gasol the leading member of the supporting cast with 16. Luol Deng scored 21 points for the Bulls. The Cleveland Cavaliers' Lebron James heaped more misery on the New Jersey Nets as he claimed 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a 99-89 win. The result was the Nets' third defeat in a row to take them to an abysmal 2-23 for the season.
The Charlotte Bobcats secured a 94-87 comeback success at home to the New York Knicks. Stephen Jackson weighed in with 24 points. The Miami Heat ended a two-game losing streak with a convincing 115-95 home victory over the Toronto Raptors, while the Houston Rockets won 107-96 at home to the Detroit Pistons. The Portland Trail Blazers were 95-88 home victors over the Sacramento Kings to go second in the Northwest Division.
* With agencies