The Suns, supposedly interested in trading for Mutombo, did their best to make him feel unwelcome Friday night, ringing him with their most physical players during an 85-73 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
"Nobody can take me out of my game," said Mutombo, who had 25 rebounds and 12 points. "I'm the only one who can control my destiny. They tried all the dirty stuff out there, but my head was too strong. I just stayed where I was and tried to finish the game."
The Suns held Atlanta to 36 percent shooting, and the Hawks' 73 points marked the sixth-best defensive effort in Phoenix history.
Until Anthony Johnson scored six points in the final 1:40, the Suns were aiming to hold Atlanta below 65 points, the franchise's record-low game against Chicago in March 1975.
"Our `help' defense is getting much, much better," coach Scott Skiles said. "We're reacting quicker, getting there on time."
Mutombo, who had 11 blocks and a triple-double in his last game, continued his strong play in the face of trade rumors.
"I'm still under contract with the Hawks," he said. "I still have a job and I get paid to feed my wife and kid. I don't worry right now about what people say. My main focus is what can we do as a team and an organization to make the team better."
He put on a show, getting 13 rebounds in the firs half and nine more in the third quarter.
But cheers at the outset turned to boos in the second half, and Phoenix's balance offset Mutombo's individual brilliance.
Rogers later made two layups to start a 7-0 spurt that carried the Suns to a 63-48 lead entering the final quarter.
"The third quarter was more energy, more commitment on defense, and not letting them catch the ball where they like," Gugliotta said. "We were real lethargic in the first half."
Atlanta never challenged down the stretch.
"We missed a lot of open shots, and slowly but surely our defense started to wear down," coach Lenny Wilkins said. "We were forcing the ball and trying to do too much on our own. We didn't use each other well enough."
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