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Marbury scores 26 of his 43 in fourth quarter

11/30/2002

PHOENIX (AP) -- Leave it to the smallest of the Phoenix Suns to shoulder the load.

Stephon Marbury scored 43 points -- his biggest output since
joining Phoenix before last season -- as the Suns rallied to beat
the San Antonio Spurs 94-87 Friday night.

"He just put the team on his back and carried us across the finish line,'' Scott Williams said of Marbury's performance, which included a franchise-record 26 points in the fourth quarter.

It was Marbury's biggest game since he scored a career-high 50 for New Jersey on Feb. 13, 2001, against the Los Angeles Lakers. He also had five rebounds, five assists, three steals -- and no turnovers.

"No turnovers?'' Marbury said. "That was probably my best game here.''

Marbury was 4-of-21 from the floor on Wednesday when the Suns
beat the Nets and Jason Kidd, sent to New Jersey for Marbury in a
swap of point guards. This time, Marbury was 3-of-12 at halftime,
but then made 15 of his last 22 shots to key the Phoenix rally.

"I just kept playing,'' Marbury said. "When I'm shooting bad, I never really worry about it. I just stay aggressive and get myself back in the flow.''

Shawn Marion and Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds apiece
to help the Suns win their third straight.

San Antonio's Tim Duncan had 31 points and 15 rebounds.

Kevin Willis had 14 points and Steve Smith 13 for the Spurs, who
blew a double-digit lead for the third time in four games -- each
time winding up with a loss.

"He did everything,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of
Marbury. "He drove the hole, knocked down shots. But even though
he did that, if we had taken care of the ball and done our work on
the boards, we still would have had a chance.''

Marbury shot 11-of-15 in the fourth quarter, keeping the
pressure on after shooting the Suns into the lead three times.

He made a 3-pointer, two layups and a runner in a 1:08 span late
in the game, the last basket opening an 85-80 lead with 2:56 to
play.

But Marbury's best came next, when he made a runner over Duncan,
who fouled him with 1:07 to go. The three-point play opened an
88-82 lead.

In the final 41 seconds, Marbury made two free throws and a
jumper, and he rebounded Duncan's miss of a 3-pointer with 3
seconds left.

"Our weak side defense was a little slow,'' Duncan said. "I
think we did a good job of getting him to the baseline, but we
didn't always get over there in time.''

Amare Stoudemire, a rookie who played Duncan tough, got his 10th rebound when Emanuel Ginobili missed two free throws with 13.8 seconds to go. Stoudemire made his free throws for the final points of the game.

Down 13 points in the second quarter, the Suns fought back to
tie at 55 with 2:53 to go in the third.

Marbury scored the last six points in the Suns' surge on two
long jumpers and a 7-footer.

He also produced the Suns' first lead at 62-60 with a 22-foot
jumper 1:15 into the third quarter and broke a tie at 62 with
another long jumper 27 seconds later.

In the next 4:25, Marbury made two baskets that regained
one-point leads for Phoenix. The last one, at 74-73 with 5:53 left,
was the final lead change.

Casey Jacobsen made a layup with 5:27 to go, and Marbury sank a
3-pointer with 4:33 to play for a 79-75 lead that held up.

Duncan made four of his first five shots in the first half,
including a 16-footer after Marbury knocked the ball out of his
hands and Duncan recovered for an open shot.

San Antonio took its first double-digit lead at 34-23 when Smith drove the baseline for a layup with 4:31 left in the second quarter. Seconds later, Smith made a technical free throw and Duncan made a free throw -- both after Williams fouled Duncan and then yelled in frustration.

That capped an 11-2 run that sent the Spurs to a 36-23 lead with
4:07 left.

But Phoenix closed the half with a 14-6 run to get within five points.

Game notes
Phoenix's 15 first-quarter points were a season low on 5-for-22 shooting (.227). The Spurs allowed Denver three points -- an NBA-record low for the first quarter on 1-of-16 shooting (.063) in their last game. ... Willis had two offensive rebounds, moving within nine of becoming the seventh player with 4,000. ... The Spurs had won five of the last six meetings.