Suns 106, Magic 103

BY foxsports • December 17, 2009

Amare Stoudemire committed two crucial turnovers down the stretch, then made up for them with a resounding finish.

Stoudemire capped a 28-point night with an emphatic offensive rebound dunk with 6.9 seconds to play and the Phoenix Suns stayed unbeaten at home with a 106-103 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

``I saw the ball go up and I just went after it,'' Stoudemire said. ``Once I grabbed it, I just figured I might as well finish it.''

The Magic, at the end of a four-game trip after being beaten at Utah on Thursday, lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Steve Nash had 20 points and 18 assists for the Suns, at 8-0 the only team in the league yet to lose at home. Phoenix has won 17 straight at home, dating to last season.

The Suns' Jared Dudley matched his career high with 19 points.

Rashard Lewis scored 24 and Mickael Pietrus 23 for the Magic, who trailed by 19 in the second quarter and 14 in the third.

Orlando's Vince Carter left the game 2 1/2 minutes into the second half with a sore right knee.

Losing on a rebound looked painfully familiar to Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.

``We're a good rebounding team who really for the three years I've been here just doesn't get rebounds in key situations,'' he said.

The Suns double-teamed Dwight Howard, who took only one shot, and made it. He was 8 of 17 at the foul line but grabbed 18 rebounds.

Howard said Phoenix's Grant Hill told him the strategy was to let anyone but Howard beat the Suns.

``Grant said as I go, the team goes,'' Howard said. ``They were going to make sure they take me out first and allow the other guys to beat them. It's a good strategy but I've just got to find ways to still be aggressive.''

There were 66 3-point attempts in the game, 38 by Orlando.

Lewis put up an airball 3-point try with about 4 seconds to go, then two jump balls were called in the final 2.5 seconds. Stoudemire tapped the ball away on the second jump, with 1.9 left, and the game ended without the Magic getting up another shot.

``It's a win that we desperately needed, obviously, with the schedule that we have coming up,'' Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. ``It's very important for us to try to keep this thing going at home.''

Phoenix played at the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas earlier in the week, losing both. The Suns are at Denver on Saturday night, at home against San Antonio on Tuesday, then at Portland next Thursday.

Van Gundy said it was little consolation that his team had rallied from a big deficit.

``Our guys fought back,'' he said, ``but the bottom line is if you had laid down and lost by 40 points, it's the same in the standings.''

Phoenix scored 25 points on 21 Orlando turnovers.

``It's just frustrating,'' Van Gundy said.

The lead changed hands five times after Dudley's free throw tied it at 95 with 4:11 to go. Hill's 12-foot bank shot on a behind-the-back pass from Nash put the Suns ahead for good 104-103 with 1:09 to go.

Each team turned it over after that. Stoudemire gave up the ball in the lane for the second time down the stretch, but Anthony Johnson lost it out of bounds on the ensuing dribble up the court with 34 seconds left.

Dudley missed a 3-pointer from the corner, but Stoudemire grabbed the ball away from Lewis on the fight for his 10th rebound, then dunked it to put his team up by three.

After falling behind 41-22 in the second quarter, the Magic went on a 22-6 run, cutting Phoenix's lead to 47-44. The Suns led 61-52 at the break.

The Magic took their first lead since the game's early minutes, 90-89, on Johnson's driving layup with 8:26 to play. Johnson's 3-pointer put Orlando ahead 95-91 with 6:21 to go before Nash's 3 eight seconds later cut it to 95-94.

NOTES: The Magic have lost eight in a row in Phoenix. ... Van Gundy called three timeouts in the first 14 minutes of the game. ... The Magic haven't swept a season series from the Suns since the 2001-02 season. ... The Suns' Robin Lopez had five fouls in five minutes.

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