PHOENIX, Dec. 10 (Ticker) -- Amaré Stoudemire
bypassed college on the way to the pros, but he gave the big men of the expansion Charlotte
Bobcats an all-around schooling.
In perhaps the most complete game of his career, Stoudemire had
36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to power the Phoenix
Suns to their fourth straight victory, a 115-106 triumph over
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"This was a hard game to get up for, and when things aren't
going well, I have to tell our guys that we have to step it up
and they followed my lead on that," Stoudemire said. "I didn't
know how close I was to a triple-double. Eight assists show
that I am a complete player."
At 17-3, Phoenix has matched the best start in franchise
history, set during the 1980-81 season.
In 2002, Stoudemire became the first player to win NBA Rookie of
the Year after entering the NBA directly from high school.
Playing out of position at center this season, the man-child has
emerged as one of the top players in the game.
Stoudemire made 13-of-20 shots and 10-of-12 free throws as he
totally overwhelmed Primoz Brezec
, rookie Emeka Okafor
. He also controlled the defensive backboards and had
a career high in assists as he foiled double-teams.
"When guys are double-teaming me, the best thing I can do is
give guys wide open shots and they were knocking them down,"
"They are a big team, an athletic team," Ely confessed. "All
the guys on their team can run and jump and do all the little
things that other teams can't."
The Suns took the lead for good in the first four minutes and
put it on cruise control against the Bobcats, the league's only
winless road team at 0-9.
and Shawn Marion
each fueled surges that
helped Phoenix widen its lead. Richardson and Marion scored 20
"We took them a little bit lightly and they hung around a little
longer them we wanted them to," Richardson said. "Now we know
the next time we play them will be in their building and we will
have a little more energy and be more ready."
handed out 14 assists for the Suns, who shot 53
percent (45-of-85) as they won for the 13th time in 14 games.
"That team made their shots and they are playing on a different
level confidence-wise," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.
"They are awfully good when you let them get to the open court."
Former Sun Brevin Knight
scored a season-high 17 points to lead
six players in double figures for the Bobcats. Brezec had 16
points and nine rebounds and Okafor added 14 and 10.
Phoenix has now won 13 of their last 14 games and improved to
8-1 against Eastern Conference teams. However, coach Mike
D'Antoni was concerned with his team's approach.
"We didn't play great," D'Antoni said. "We did enough to win and
we went on spurts again but we have to get out of that habit.
It scares me a bit."
Richardson scored seven points in an 11-0 run that gave Phoenix
a 15-8 lead early in the first quarter. After Charlotte closed
to 65-62 on a jumper by Brezec, Marion had seven in a 10-2 burst
capped at 75-64 on a jumper by Nash with 7:50 left in the third