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Magic winless out west

By wire services
Published March 4, 2006

PHOENIX - Tim Thomas has played for six teams in his nine NBA seasons. He might want to stick around in Phoenix for a while.

Thomas, who had not played since November and was signed by the Suns on Friday, scored a season-high 20, and combined with Shawn Marion and Steve Nash to lead the Suns to their ninth straight victory, 123-118, over the Orlando Magic.

Marion's two alley-oop baskets in the final minute, both on setups from Nash, rallied the Suns from a seven-point deficit in the final 5:13.

But it was Thomas' unexpected contribution that kept the Suns in the game before their late comeback. He hit 7-of-13 shots, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

"It was a great night," the 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward said. "This is unbelievable. I always wanted to be in this situation, where I could open up my game and run."

With the Suns still down by five, 116-111 with 3:06 left, they reeled off eight straight points. Marion slammed home an alley-oop pass from Nash with 56.1 seconds remaining, finally putting Phoenix ahead 117-116. Less than 26 seconds later, Marion and Nash hooked up again on an alley-oop play.

Marion finished with 24 points and nine rebounds. Nash and Boris Diaw each had 18 points and Leandro Barbosa scored 17.

Jameer Nelson, playing in his first game since Jan. 20, scored 20 of his 24 in the second half for Orlando and Carlos Arroyo added a season-high 21 points. Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points for the Magic.

The loss was the Magic's fourth in a row and 12th in their last 13 games. The Suns have won 12 of 13.

BULLS 108, KNICKS 101: Ben Gordon scored 32 against host New York, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds left. Kirk Hinrich added 33 points for the Bulls, who trailed by 16 points in the third before he and Gordon brought Chicago back to hand the league-worst Knicks their sixth straight loss and 22nd in 24 games.

KINGS 102, HAWKS 93: Brad Miller scored 24 to lead five Kings in double figures. Visiting Sacramento built a 7-point lead at 71-64 late in the third, but the Hawks scored five straight, including a pair of free throws by Marvin Williams with 10 seconds left to cut the Kings lead to two after three periods. The Kings broke the game open in the fourth. Leading only 71-69 after three periods, Miller scored eight to key Sacramento's 21-9 run that gave the Kings a 14-point lead to put the game away.

CELTICS 99, PACERS 98: Paul Pierce had 31 points and eight assists, and hit a 3-pointer with 39.2 seconds left in the game to put the host Celtics ahead for good. After Fred Jones tied at 94 with 1:34 remaining, he missed the subsequent free throw that would have given the Pacers the lead. Pierce and Jones then exchanged jumpers, but Pierce's 3-pointer was too much for the Pacers to overcome.

MAVERICKS 90, BOBCATS 76: Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 and Jason Terry had 17 as host Dallas rallied from a halftime deficit to extend their club-record home winning streak to 16 games. Erick Dampier had nine points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots for the Mavs, who have won 20 of their last 22. Gerald Wallace's 14 points led the Bobcats, who have lost eight of their last 10. Dallas was behind by a point at halftime, but the Mavericks opened the third with a 29-8 run sparked by Terry's 10 points for a 65-45 lead. The Mavs scored on 17 of their 21 third-quarter possessions to push the lead to 18 points heading into the final period.

ROCKETS 89, NUGGETS 78: Tracy McGrady scored 23 and Yao Ming added 21 as host Houston overcame an eight-point deficit midway through the second and didn't trail again. Andre Miller's nifty reverse layup got Denver within 76-70 with about 6 minutes left. But a 3-pointer by Rafer Alston followed by a dunk by Yao extended Houston's lead to 81-70. Yao followed with a block on Kenyon Martin that sent the ball flying into the crowd and the Nuggets wouldn't threaten again.

76ERS 119, WIZARDS 113: Host Philadelphia's Allen Iverson had 47 points and 12 assists, and Chris Webber added 30 points and 12 rebounds. Gilbert Arenas scored 17 of his 33 in the fourth quarter, including five straight to bring Washington within 114-113 with 1:30 remaining. But his driving layup spilled out with the Sixers up three and 50 seconds to go, and the Wizards wouldn't score again.

LAKERS: Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to score 16,000 points in his NBA career, passing his latest scoring milestone in the first quarter of a late West Coast game against the host Warriors. Bryant was 27 years and 192 days old - four days younger than Wilt Chamberlain when the Hall of Famer scored his 16,000th career point on March 5, 1964. Michael Jordan was the third-youngest, reaching the mark at 28 years and 31 days. Just two months earlier, Bryant became the youngest player to score 15,000 career points. But Bryant, who entered the NBA straight out of high school 10 years ago, did it in 657 games - only the 29th-fastest in league history.

SPURS: Forward Robert Horry was suspended two games by the league for intentionally making contact with an official and his actions during an altercation with Dallas guard Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse was fined $30,000 for criticizing the officials after San Antonio's win on Thursday. Replays of the incident showed Horry attempting to bite Stackhouse's arm, but Horry's teeth never made contact with Stackhouse's skin.

TIMBERWOLVES: Guard Anthony Carter was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and was being held in jail.

[Last modified March 4, 2006, 01:47:17]

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