PHOENIX, May 9 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash
received his Most Valuable
Player trophy before the game. Teammate Amare Stoudemire
provided an MVP performance of his own.
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Stoudemire scored 25 of his 40 points in a scintillating first
half as the Phoenix Suns ran the Dallas Mavericks ragged in a
127-102 rout in Game One of the Western Conference semifinals.
The floor general of the high-flying Suns, Nash became just the
second point guard in 40 years to win the prestigious MVP award
Sunday. He was honored before the game in front of his former
Stoudemire, who finished 10th in MVP voting, was an unstoppable
force from the outset, proving far too quick for both Erick Dampier
and Dirk Nowitzki
In the first half, Stoudemire made 8-of-15 shots and went
9-of-11 at the free-throw line as the Suns built a 63-47 lead.
His quickness helped him get to the line eight times in the
first quarter, when he scored 15 points.
Stoudemire finished 13-of-21 from the floor and 14-of-17 at the
line while also collecting 16 rebounds in the best postseason
game of his career. The star attempted five more free throws
than the Mavericks.
"I'm not surprised," Stoudemire said about not being double
teamed. "I guess they felt Dampier was a big enough center to
hold me. I am going to do what I do and take what the defense
"He was just being Amare like he's been doing all season," Suns
guard Joe Johnson said. "I don't think any one person can stop
him on the block. I think he has the advantage because they're
The Suns were able to build the huge lead despite Nash picking
up three first-half fouls. He had five points and five assists
in the half, during which Phoenix shot 55 percent (23-of-42) and
made 6-of-10 3-pointers.
and Nash also had double-doubles for Phoenix, which
stretched its lead to 99-73 lead after three quarters. Marion
had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Nash 11 points and 13 assists.
"We certainly came out focused, which is so important for our
team," Nash said. "When we're focused and playing with energy,
we're extremely difficult to beat. It was good to get back to
basketball - it was kind of like a sanctuary for this team."
scored 16 of his 25 points in the first half for the
top-seeded Suns, who have yet to be slowed in the postseason.
Phoenix has won all five of its playoff games, averaging 116.4
points, up from its 110.4 mark in the regular season.
Phoenix, which scored the game's first eight points and never
trailed, held a 24-9 advantage in fast-break points and made
12-of-22 attempts from the arc.
"I thought that defensively we did a lot better, we had a lot of
energy," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When we do that we
create opportunities and we run. Guys knocked down shots."
Just two nights after a 116-76 destruction of Houston - the most
lopsided victory in a Game Seven in NBA history - the
fourth-seeded Mavericks never found their legs against the
fresher Suns, who were playing for the first time in eight days.
Nowitzki had 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks, who
shot 45 percent (44-of-98) and went just 5-of-18 from the arc.
"The key for us to win this game was to slow the transition down
and keep Stoudemire out of the lane," Nowitzki said. "We didn't
do anything, they got whatever they wanted. They shot well
from outside, Stoudemire was scoring at will. It's tough to win
a game when they score 127. We're not going to outscore them."
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was ejected with 3:20 remaining
left in the third quarter after picking up a pair of technical
"We didn't an answer for anything they did," Johnson said. "They
ran on us, they moved the ball and basically played like they
did in the first round. I am very disappointed with our mental
approach to the game. We had a pretty laid back day yesterday,
but we thought it was a vacation. We're in a resort mood rather
than a semifinal type of a playoff mood."
Game Two is Wednesday.
After Shawn Bradley
's basket pulled the Mavericks within 32-26
early in the second quarter, Stoudemire made a jumper and
Johnson two free throws to trigger a 12-2 burst. Nash's
3-pointer at the 7:48 mark capped the surge and gave the Suns a
Nash's jumper with 22 seconds left gave the Suns their biggest
lead of the half at 63-45. They by at least 14 points the
entire second half and by as many as 27 in the fourth quarter.