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‘Junk’ helps Sonics defeat Suns

The Arizona Republic


The Arizona Republic

SEATTLE – The Seattle SuperSonics are a team that loves to mix things up defensively.

“They throw some junk in the game because they don’t play real good man-to-man defense,” Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Unfortunately for D’Antoni, neither did the Suns last night at KeyArena as the Sonics shredded them 116-90.

With Ray Allen scoring 24 points in his first game of the season, Seattle shot 56 percent against the Suns and made 11 of its 20 three-point attempts.

The field goal percentage and 116 points were season highs for a Phoenix opponent, and the 11 three-point goals tied the year’s high.

But then it was typical of how the Suns have played on the road all season.

They now have lost eight in a row away from America West Arena and are just 2-12 overall on the road.

They also have surrendered more than 100 points in their last five road games.

They dropped nine games below the .500 mark, the first time they’ve been that far under the break-even point since the final month of the 2001-02 season.

“It was a disappointing loss,” said D’Antoni, whose Suns are 2-6 under him. “Not the loss, but the effort. That’s something that we need to take a real good look at and understand why.”

If Phoenix came to Seattle hoping for a little holiday gift, it left with another lump of coal and dimming hopes for a winning season and another playoff berth.

The Suns are still at least three weeks away from getting second-year forward Amare Stoudemire and his inside presence back from a sprained ankle.

With Denver, Memphis and Houston dramatically improved since last season, the Suns may already be in too deep of a hole to make a playoff run this season.

“We aren’t playing aggressive on the defensive end,” said Phoenix’s Stephon Marbury, who scored 19 points. “Right now is not the time for that to be happening.”

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