Suns Want 2nd Big Win vs Detroit

The Phoenix Suns have little time to relax after one of their most strenuous victories of the season.

Two days after knocking off the best team in the Western Conference, the Suns try and defeat the leaders in the East when they host the Detroit Pistons on Friday.

Phoenix (50-14) tightened the race for the top seed in the West with a thrilling 129-127 double-overtime victory over first-place Dallas on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers have made Phoenix -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 203 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix-6

(View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Suns trailed by seven points with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, but Steve Nash scored 10 points in the final minute, capped by a tying 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime. He finished with 32 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds.

Amare Stoudemire scored 24 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and in the overtimes, and finished making 16-of-19 shots.

"He was unstoppable,'' coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He had a little sore back, a little muscle cramp or something in the first half. ... But, man, did he rise to the occasion in the fourth quarter. It was unbelievable."

The Suns won their sixth straight and 11th in 12 games since the All-Star break, moving within 2 1/2 games of the Mavericks for the best record in the league.

While Phoenix and Dallas have been grabbing all the attention with their astounding seasons and lengthy winning streaks, Detroit (41-22) is looking to secure the top spot in the East for the second straight season.

"We relish flying under the radar right now. The talk is all about Dallas and Phoenix and that's fine with us,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We're comfortable with where we are at and our guys are really following the game plan.''

Detroit, which leads Cleveland by two games in the Central Division and the East, defeated Portland 87-75 on Wednesday, improving to 4-0 on a five-game road trip. The Pistons return home on Sunday to host the Mavericks.

The Pistons have won nine of their last 10 away from the Palace of Auburn Hills, and are an East-best 22-10 on the road.

Phoenix, meanwhile, has won six straight at US Airways Center, and 16 of its last 17 home games with Nash in the lineup.

"I'm not scared of nobody,'' Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace said. "They should be scared of us.''

The Suns have struggled against the Pistons lately at home, though, losing five of their last six there against them. They were able to win 108-101 at Detroit on Dec. 31, as Nash totaled 35 points and 12 assists, while Stoudemire had 31 points and 13 rebounds in that win.

Richard Hamilton finished with 31 points in the loss to Phoenix, and had 21 points in Wednesday's victory as he's been alternating good and bad performances in his last six games.

He's averaging 24.3 points and 59.2 percent shooting in his three good games, but just 10.0 points while shooting 33.3 percent in his bad ones. After a solid game against Portland, he could be in for a rough game against the Suns.

Chris Webber was held to just five points on 2-of-8 shooting on Wednesday, after scoring a season-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting in Tuesday's win over Seattle.

Webber, who signed with Detroit in January, has yet to play the Suns as a member of the Pistons. He was held to just eight points against them in November when playing for Philadelphia.

Detroit has not been swept in a season series by Phoenix since 1999-2000.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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