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Suns Beat Down On Spurs 97-79

Danny Manning made another statement in his quest for the NBA's sixth man of the year award.

Manning had nine points, two rebounds and two assists in the fourth quarter as the Phoenix Suns beat the San Antonio Spurs 97-79 Sunday night for their season-best fifth straight victory.

"Danny can start on most teams in this league," Suns coach Danny Ainge said. "You saw tonight how valuable he is for us."

Manning finished with a team-high 17 points as Phoenix improved to 3-0 against the Spurs this season. Jason Kidd had 10 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

"It's nice to move up the ladder in the standings," Manning said. "We're all jockeying for position and trying to gain the homecourt advantage. I'm just trying to do my part and I was fortunate to make some plays tonight."

Dennis Scott, playing in his second game since getting traded from Dallas, also came off the bench and and hit two big 3-pointers as the Suns closed the game on a 17-2 run.

"I was very appreciative that Danny had that much confidence in me to throw me in against a team we might play in the playoffs," Scott said. "My game is getting better and better and I'm trying so hard to not be out of place. We have good chemistry and I don't want to upset that."

Will Perdue had 16 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for San Antonio, which played without injured David Robinson. Tim Duncan had 17 for the Spurs.

"Overall, they outplayed us," Duncan said. "We made a lot of mistakes and I didn't help. I didn't play real well and they took me out of my game. Down the stretch I had some chances, but I blew it."

Carl Herrera's basket to open the fourth quarter put the Spurs ahead 71-68. Phoenix came back with a 10-0 run, with Rex Chapman's four-point play capping the spurt.

Duncan's basket midway through the quarter brought the Spurs to 80-77, but the Suns pulled away.

San Antonio had taken a 69-68 lead into the fourth quarter on the strength of Monty Williams' 3-pointer from three-quarters court as time expired.

The Spurs led by as many as nine points in the first half as Perdue had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Notes: Robinson missed his fourth straight game because of a knee injury. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. ... Purdue already had recorded his fourth double-double of the season with three minutes left in the first half. ... Suns center John "Hot Rod" Williams strained his left knee at the end of the first quarter and did not return. ... Phoenix won for just the second time in nine home games when trailing after three quarters.

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