Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/11

Game 1: Wednesday, December 11th
Game 2: Sunday, February 16th

Celtics 92

(30-23, 13-14 away)

Suns 102

(30-23, 21-6 home)

    6:00 PM ET, February 16, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 28 25 26 1392
    PHX 27 25 26 24102

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 21 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    PHX: A. Stoudemire 25 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Ast

    Marbury comes through in fourth quarter

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Stephon Marbury split his game into two parts -- the first three quarters, and the all-important fourth.

    The All-Star point guard had nine assists but just eight points in the first 36 minutes against Boston. Then he shifted gears -- scoring 12 points down the stretch as the Phoenix Suns pulled away for a 102-92 win over the road-weary Celtics on Sunday night.

    They outscored Boston 25-13 in the final period.

    "In the third quarter, we picked up our intensity big-time,'' Marbury said. "Especially going late into the third quarter, and then we just carried it over into the fourth. I think the difference was we just made shots.''

    Amare Stoudemire had 25 points and 17 rebounds and Shawn Marion added 22 points as the Suns snapped their two-game home losing streak and swept the Celtics for the first time in five years.

    "It was a must-win situation,'' Stoudemire said. "Everybody had to come out and play 100 percent, especially on defense. We locked it down in the fourth quarter, and that was the key.''

    Paul Pierce had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Antoine Walker scored 16 points and Walter McCarty had 13, but they couldn't keep the Celtics from falling to 3-1 on their current six-game road trip.

    The Celtics, who played Saturday night, are 0-3 in the second game of back-to-backs.

    But coach Jim O'Brien didn't buy the exhaustion theory.

    "They just outplayed us in the fourth quarter,'' O'Brien said. "It had nothing to do with gas.''

    In a tight contest that featured 21 lead changes in the first three quarters, the Celtics led by a point after each.

    But after Pierce gave Boston an 86-82 lead on a 3-pointer with 10:08 left in the game, Marion made a short jumper and then passed to Joe Johnson for a three-point play with 8:09 left. That put the Suns ahead 87-86 for the final lead change.

    Marbury, who had 12 assists, kept the run going with two free throws and two baskets, and Marion sank a 20-footer for a 95-89 lead with 4:35 remaining -- just three seconds after Pierce made what wound up as Boston's next-to-last basket.

    Johnson, who had 16 points, had a 3-pointer that gave Phoenix a 98-89 lead with 3:49 to go, and Marion made a 7-foot leaner for a 100-90 lead with 1:28 left.

    "I liked the fact that we only had eight turnovers, and then how we finished the game,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "To hold them to 13 points in the fourth quarter was big for us.''

    Stoudemire brought gasps from the crowd during a 9-2 spurt by the Suns when he dribbled behind his back crossing the lane for a layup, and Phoenix went ahead 23-15 on Jake Voskuhl's two free throws with 4:13 left in the first quarter.

    The Celtics regained the lead, 26-25, on Delk's jumper with 1:03 left in the period.

    That was the first of 12 lead changes in the next 13 baskets before Stoudemire's jump hook and a 3-pointer by Johnson in a 40-second span opened a 49-44 lead with 2:52 to play in the second.

    Boston finished the quarter with a 9-3 surge, and took its biggest lead, 68-59, when Walker made two 3-pointers and a jump hook in the first 5:38 of the third.

    The Suns recovered to lead twice, but Delk made his second 3-pointer of the quarter with 24 seconds left for a 79-77 Boston lead, and Stoudemire missed his second free throw in the waning seconds to leave the Celtics ahead.

    "In the last couple of games, we were able to put together a number of stops, and we weren't able to do that today,'' Pierce said. "Marbury did a great job controlling the game.''

    Game notes

    McCarty made his fourth straight start at center while Tony Battie continued to ail from the flu. ... McCarty reached 1,000 career rebounds with the second of his eight. ... The Suns are 10-3 when Bo Outlaw starts at center. ... The Suns have had five consecutive 100-point games for the first time since February 2000. ... Phoenix beat the Celtics 103-94 in Boston on Dec. 11.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 92 102
    FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 36-74 (.486)
    3PM-3PA 10-31 (.323) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 14-18 (.778) 25-32 (.781)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-39 13-38
    Assists 19 23
    Turnovers 11 10
    Steals 2 7
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 2 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 18 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 21
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
    Points: 25
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0