Just one word for this one: Appropriate!

Amare Stoudemire led 6 Suns players in double-figures on Sunday night.

(NBAE Photos)

With the greatest defensive player of all time in the audience, how appropriate it was that the Suns turned in one of their finer defensive efforts in the process of holding an opponent under triple digits for the fourth straight game.

Former Celtic star/Hall of Famer Bill Russell was given a long ovation by the sellout crowd at US Airways Center, and considering all he’s read and heard the last few years about the way the Suns play “D” (i.e. — with one hand tied behind their back and the other in their pocket) he had to be pleasantly surprised and not a little impressed with the energy the Suns showed at the “other” end.

And he had to be especially appreciative of Shawn Marion, who tied his season high with five steals in just 29 minutes.

The offense wasn’t too shabby either, as Amare Stoudemire led six Suns in double figures with 28 points and Raja Bell hit on five of his ten “trey” tries.

The victory brought the Suns to the half way mark in the regular season at 29-12, a mark bettered in the entire NBA only by the Celtics. It was also their 14th consecutive victory over the Nets at US Airways Center. To put that figure in perspective, the Nets have had six head coaches since they last won in Phoenix and their coach on that occasion was Chuck Daly.

The Nets opted to go small to keep up with the pedal-to-the-metal Suns but all that got them for their effort was a 48-38 beating on the boards — especially on the offensive end, where the Suns had 17 – leading to 16 second chance points.

The bottom line: All in all, a nice way to set the stage for a four-game swing through the Midwest.