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Phoenix scorches Pacers

Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns were off and running as never before on Sunday night, and the Indiana Pacers hardly knew what hit them.

Shawn Marion scored 21 points and Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 14 rebounds to help the Suns rout the Pacers 124-89 for their sixth straight victory and NBA-best 30th of the year, one more than they won all of last season.

Phoenix’s 30-4 start ties the 1959-60 Boston Celtics and 1971-72 Milwaukee Bucks for the best start for a team with four losses in NBA history.

Joe Johnson added 15, Quentin Richardson 14, and Steve Nash, Steven Hunter and Maceij Lampe each scored 10 in the Suns’ highest-scoring game since the 1999-2000 season. The 37-point victory margin ranks fifth for Phoenix at America West Arena, which opened in 1992.

“It’s a blast, man, especially when we come out like we did tonight,” Marion said. “The crowd was into it, we were into it, we were all pumped up. We just ran away with it right from the jump, and they didn’t show no signs of life out there.”

Next up for Phoenix is a home showdown with Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat on Tuesday night – a matchup of conference leaders.

Phoenix never trailed, blowing open a 22-point lead in the first quarter, 25 in the second and 38 in the third and 42 in the fourth.

Knicks 113, Trail Blazers 105: Allan Houston had his best game of the season with 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting, and Jerome Williams played 44 minutes in his first start as New York beat visiting Portland.

The victory should provide some job security for Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens, who acknowledged before the game that his slumping team has chemistry problems to go along with its assortment of injuries.

Rockets 116, Nuggets 98: Tracy McGrady scored 20 his 45 points in the fourth quarter and had 12 rebounds to help Houston pull away for a victory in Denver.

Houston jumped out to a 17-point lead early, let the Nuggets climb back in the third quarter, then pulled away when McGrady took over.

Raptors 109, Warriors 87: Chris Bosh had 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds and Rafer Alston ended a shooting slump with 14 second-half points as Toronto beat visiting Golden State.

Alston had missed his last 23 shots over three games before his layup sparked a 15-2 run in the third quarter. He made his next six shots as Toronto outscored Golden State 36-17 in the third quarter and went on its biggest win of the season.

Iverson probable for tonight

NBA scoring leader Allen Iverson probably will play despite a sprained right ankle when the Philadelphia 76ers face the Trail Blazers tonight.

Iverson, averaging 28.9 points, missed Friday’s game against Minnesota as the 76ers finished a road trip in which they went 5-3. He injured the ankle in the first quarter against Utah on Wednesday night, but played the rest of the game.

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