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 good.

"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 good team."

"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 the paint.

Darius Miles 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.