Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/2/13
PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns are now on the doorstep of 2,000 wins as a franchise. But those wins have been coming fewer and father between this season, and the first one of 2013 snapped another extended losing skid. Luis Scola notched his third consecutive 20-point game with 21 points and added nine assists and Shannon Brown added 12 key points off the bench as the Suns snapped a six-game losing streak with their 1,999th win in team history, 96-89 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. "We have played a lot of close games like this one this year and if we had done a better job like tonight our record would be much different," said Scola, who is averaging 26 points, 6.7 rebounds and four assists in the last three games. "I'm playing with a little more confidence right now. I'm playing in a better rhythm and with more confidence and I know my teammates better. "It took some time, but I'm happy with the way things are going. I need to keep going." Goran Dragic added 20 points and six assists for the Suns and his 11-footer with 18.8 seconds to play gave Phoenix a 95-87 lead to put the game away. The Suns lost seven in a row earlier this year and won for just the fifth time in their last 18 games. A win over Utah here on Friday in their 3,539th game would give the Suns the fourth-fastest run to 2,000 wins in NBA history. Only Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers and the 76ers reached the 2,000 plateau in fewer games. Jrue Holiday, who had 33 points and 13 assists in a Sixers win over the Suns in Philadelphia on Nov. 25, notched his second career triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Dorell Wright and Thaddeus Young added 14 each. "(Holiday) torched us up there the first time that we played and I thought we did a good job controlling him and making him shoot contested shots," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "The guy still ends up with a triple-double ... that's just a testament to the quality of player he is." The Sixers shaved an 11-point Suns lead to 87-85 when Holiday earned his triple-double on an alley-oop assist to Wright with 2:19 left. But the Sixers wasted their next two possessions on a Holiday turnover and a five-second call coming out of a timeout. P.J. Tucker followed two Dragic free throws with an 11-foot jumper with 1:18 left to give Phoenix a 91-85 lead. Lavoy Allen's layup gave the Sixers one more chance, but Dragic's jumper was the clincher. "When the game comes down to crunch time, you have to take care of the ball, you have to make the right play and you have to get stops," Wright said. "We didn't do that and they capitalized on it and we just came up short." The Sixers led 49-48 at the break and stayed ahead for only the first 55 seconds of the second half and couldn't follow up Tuesday's win over the Lakers in Los Angeles with a win over the skidding Suns. "We were playing uphill, a very fatigued game which is disappointing," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "We hung around and still had a chance to win the game. The inconsistency just comes back to haunt us every night." With Tucker starting for a second consecutive game over Brown, the Suns put up a 31-point first quarter and ended the period on an 11-4 run, with five straight points from Markieff Morris, including a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left giving Phoenix a 31-24 lead. But the Sixers feasted on the Phoenix bench to open the second quarter, using their speed to forced turnovers, turn them into easy baskets and reel off with a 17-6 run. Nick Young had a pair of 3-pointers during the run, the second coming 26 seconds after Wright's 3-pointer to give Philadelphia a 41-37 lead with 5:22 left. The team traded baskets for the rest of the half, with Jason Richardson's driving layup with eight-tenths of a second left, giving the Sixers a 49-48 edge at intermission. Holiday continued to rack up the statistics in the third quarter but the Phoenix starters -- plus Brown -- played extended minutes again in the third quarter to gain control. Brown had three jumpers in the final 3:11 of the period during a 15-7 run to close to quarter and give the Suns a 75-66 lead. "Shannon was huge from the bench and we need those bench points," Dragic said. "We need everybody." NOTES: Gentry stuck with Tucker over Brown in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game after seeing good early results in Monday's loss at Oklahoma City. ... Before the game Gentry had nothing but praise for Holiday, who the Suns passed on in favor of the now departed Earl Clark in 2009. "He's flown under the radar a little but he's in that group with (Cleveland's) Kyrie Irving and he's a tremendous defensive player, especially on the ball." ... Jan. 2 has been a big day for the Suns in the past. In 2001, Tony Delk scored 53 points against Sacramento, the third highest total in franchise history behind 60- and 56-point efforts from Tom Chambers in 1990. And in 2006, Steve Nash had a career-high 22 assists -- two shy of Kevin Johnson's franchise record -- against the New York Knicks. ... The Suns haven't been 11 games under .500 since finishing the 2003-04 season 29-53.
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