Suns top Cavs to extend win streak to 17

Updated: 2007-01-29 09:16

CLEVELAND - Steve Nash scored 23 points and kept Phoenix's high-energy offense purring with 15 assists as the Suns extended their winning streak to 17 games - the NBA's longest in seven years - by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-100 on Sunday.

Shawn Marion added 23 points, Amare Stoudemire 22 and Leandro Barbosa had 19 for the Suns, who improved to 34-4 since opening the season 1-5. Phoenix, which had a 15-game win streak earlier this season, also matched a franchise record with their ninth straight road win and are 20-1 vs. Eastern Conference teams.

The Suns haven't lost since Dec. 28, and with the way their running and sharing the ball right now, it's going to take a spectacular effort to beat them.

LeBron James scored 30 points and Drew Gooden 19 to lead the Cavaliers, who were within four points going into the fourth. However, they couldn't match the Suns' blazing up-and-down pace and managed just 13 points in the final 12 minutes.

The Suns' winning streak is the league's longest since Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers reeled off 19 in a row during the 1999-200 season. It's also tied for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history.

Leading 91-87 after three, and with Nash on the bench getting some rest, the Suns got consecutive 3-pointers from James Jones and Barbosa in an 8-0 run to take a 99-87 lead with 8:09 remaining.

The Suns' quick burst all but finished the Cavs, who have dropped three straight at home and seven of nine overall.

Cleveland found out what so many other teams are learning this season: Run with the Suns, and you're bound to get burned.

James, who missed the previous game with a sore right big toe, got a steal and dunk to get the Cavs within 99-89 with 7:20 left. But Nash returned and immediately made a twisting reverse layup, and moments later, fed Marion for a 3-pointer - Phoenix's 13th - to make it 107-94 with 3:44 remaining.

The Suns were playing their fourth game in a five-game road trip, but they didn't look tired or bored by their success. Instead, they were focused throughout and will look for their 18th consecutive win on Monday in Minnesota.

Cleveland got just four points from center Zyrdunas Ilgauskas, who was rendered useless by Phoenix's speed. Larry Hughes had seven points on 3-of-13 shooting and never got into any rhythm.

The Cavaliers had control of the tempo and were leading by five points in the second quarter when the Suns erupted on one of their patented scoring spurts, hitting four consecutive 3-pointers in less than two minutes during a 14-2 run to lead 41-34.

But James kept Cleveland close. He hit a 3-pointer before posterizing Barbosa on a soaring dunk and rookie Daniel Gibson made another long-range jumper as the Cavaliers took a 44-43 lead.

The Cavs didn't have much time to enjoy it as Raja Bell countered with a 3 and the Suns, shooting 57 percent from the floor, took a 58-56 halftime lead.

Top Sports News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours