PHOENIX, Jan. 2 (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire
had the Portland Trail
Blazers ducking for cover.
Stoudemire scored a career-high 50 points with a relentless
assault on the rim, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 117-98 victory
over the shorthanded TrailBlazers.
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A 6-10 forward with a lethal combination of quickness and power,
Stoudemire ran roughshod over the Trail Blazers, who were
without injured center Theo Ratliff
The 22-year-old man-child made 20-of-27 shots - nine of them
hammer dunks - and 10-of-17 free throws as he shattered his
previous career high of 38, set in his rookie season and matched
earlier this season.
"Tonight was a pretty good all-around game for me," said
Stoudemire, who also had 11 rebounds. "I wasn't thinking of
scoring 50; it just came to me in the flow of the game. ... It
is great to be able to do it against the best players in the
world but I think it is just the tip of the iceberg."
"He looked like Wilt Chamberlain out there," Suns guard Quentin Richardson
said. "I've never seen any one hit 50 and miss only
seven shots. He also missed seven free throws, so if he learns
how to hit free throws, he could get 60. The whole ESPN Top Ten
(highlights) should be his tonight."
Stoudemire totally dominated the paint, working over Zach Randolph
, Joel Przybilla
and Shareef Abdur-Rahim
, who fouled
out. He scored 12 points in the first quarter and 14 more in the
second, when Phoenix raced to 41 points and took the lead for
"I was surprised that Amare had 26 at the half because I had no
idea," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He wasn't forcing bad
shots or working really hard. It wasn't completely him; the
guys were moving the ball, and when we do that we are a pretty
"We were getting the ball to Amare and he was dunking on
everybody," teammate Shawn Marion
said. "It looked like he was
playing on a 6-foot rim."
In the fourth quarter, Stoudemire scored 20 points, repelling a
rally by Portland and turning on the America West Arena crowd.
In the final minute, he sank a turnaround jumper over Przybilla
to join some exclusive company.
An emerging star in his third season, Stoudemire became the
third player to score 50 points this season, joining Allen Iverson
of Philadelphia and Dirk Nowitzki
of Dallas. He also
became the fourth Sun to score 50 points and the first in
exactly four years. Tony Delk
scored 53 against Sacramento on
Jan. 2, 2001.
At 22 years, 47 days, Stoudemire becomes the sixth-youngest
player to score 50 points. Rick Barry is the youngest, scoring
57 on Dec. 14, 1965 when he was 21 years, 261 days.
"Amare is the size of a 4-man (power forward) but he is quick
like a 2 or 3 (guard or forward)," Miles said. "He just makes
one move and he can go hard one way and jump over his defender.
He killed us tonight."
In winning for the 13th time in 14 games, the Suns had more than
Stoudemire. Richardson had 20 points and four steals, Marion
had 15, nine rebounds and six steals, Joe Johnson
had 15 and
nine assists and Steve Nash
had 10 assists.
The absence of Ratliff, who is fifth in the NBA in blocks,
allowed Suns reserve center Steven Hunter
to collect 10 points
and four blocks. Led by Stoudemire, Phoenix scored 62 points in
had a season-high 25 points and nine rebounds for
the Blazers, who have lost three of four. They have surrendered
an average of 119 points in two losses to the Suns.
The Suns are 10-1 this season when Stoudemire has scored 30 or
more points, which he has done in five of his last six games.
"I mixed it up pretty good tonight," he said. "It wasn't all
power. A lot of the moves were a little finesse. With the
power moves, that allowed me to finesse it up a bit and catch
them off guard."
The Blazers closed to 83-81 on a basket by Ruben Patterson to
open the fourth quarter, but Stoudemire had a three-point play,
a hammer dunk on a lob from Johnson and a jump hook.
Stoudemire added another hoop before Richardson's 3-pointer. His
free throw, steal and dunk made it 100-85 with 5:24 to play.