BOSTON (AP) – Shawn Marion scored 29 points and Steve Nash added 16 points and 14 assists to help the Phoenix Suns extend their winning streak to nine games with a 116-111 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Raja Bell and Boris Diaw each added 14 points for Phoenix, coming off a 161-157 double-overtime victory in New Jersey on Thursday night. The Suns have won 11 of 12 after starting the season 1-5.

Paul Pierce scored 36 points for Boston, and Ryan Gomes and Tony Allen added 18 apiece. The Celtics have lost five straight and seven of eight.

After back-to-back baskets by Pierce and Delonte West tied it at 101, Phoenix scored on its last seven possessions to put the game out of reach. Marion’s 3-pointer from the corner put Phoenix up 104-101 with 3:16 left, and Amare Stoudemire followed with a layup.

Phoenix got off to a quick start, shooting 59 percent in the first quarter to take a 35-33 lead behind 10 points from Marion and nine from Stoudemire.

The Suns then extended their lead to 59-54 by halftime despite turning the ball over 10 times in the second quarter.

Pierce scored 25 in the first half to keep the game close, and Sebastian Telfair scored 12 of his 14 points in the third quarter. The Celtics held the Suns to 21 third-quarter points to take a 79-71 lead late in the period.

Phoenix responded with a 9-2 run to end the third, then pulled away late.

Notes: Boston forward Wally Szczerbiak missed his second game with a sprained left ankle. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Szczerbiak could return in time for Monday’s game in New York. Tony Allen started in his place. … It was the eighth straight game the Suns outscored their opponent in the first quarter. … Phoenix has won five straight in Boston since a 109-102 overtime loss on Dec. 7, 2001. … Nash has 59 assists in his last four games.

AP-ES-12-08-06 2211EST


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