Stoudemire, Suns Shine Bright In Win
Posted Nov 12 2006 3:20AM
Phoenix 96, Memphis 87
PHOENIX, Nov 11 (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire is nearly ready to declare himself back to normal.
Stoudemire, who missed all but three games last season following two knee surgeries, scored a season-high 25 points Saturday night as the Phoenix Suns snapped a four-game losing streak with a 96-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Stoudemire grabbed 14 rebounds for his first double-double since Game 5 of the 2005 Western Conference finals. He shot 10-of-14 from the field in his best game of the season.
"I've felt like that all season,'' Stoudemire said. "My thing is I'm just trying to knock off some rust. It may take a week, it may take two weeks, but it's definitely turning out good for me.
"It's getting better and better for me each game.''
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni was happy to see his star forward is well on his way back.
"It was good to see Amare's pop and swagger,'' D'Antoni said. "He's going to keep getting better.''
The victory was the first time in six games this season the Suns held an opponent under 100 points. Phoenix had blown leads in all of its losses and nearly squandered a 34-point advantage before pulling it out. The Suns were outscored 29-7 in the fourth, the fewest points scored in a quarter in franchise history.
Phoenix had been giving up 111 points per game. The Suns also had been outrebounded by 62 this season but beat the Grizzlies 52-42 on Saturday.
The four-game losing streak was the longest for the Suns since January 2005.
Memphis led 35-26 following three free throws by Chucky Atkins early in the second quarter. The Suns then went on an 18-4 run to go up 44-39. The half ended with Phoenix leading 54-43.
Stoudemire scored eight points as the Suns opened the third quarter outscoring the Grizzlies 21-2 to lead 75-45. The Suns widened the lead to 34 before heading into the fourth quarter up 89-58.
"We went from nine up to 11 down,'' Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "Then we started the third quarter with no energy at all. They just rolled the score up on us.''
Memphis opened the fourth quarter on a 22-2 run to make it 91-80 with 4:06 left. The Grizzlies trailed 94-87 after Atkins' basket with 46 seconds left but got no closer.
Although the Suns almost blew their big lead, Phoenix's Steve Nash was satisfied.
"I think we did our job tonight,'' Nash said. "We played a little better and showed more toughness. Throughout the game, it was more determined play and the fight in us that got us the big lead.''
Atkins led Memphis with 20 points.
Notes: The Suns' Raja Bell did not suit up because of bruised ribs. The Suns were 0-6 in games Bell missed because of injury dating to last season. ... Center Jake Tsakalidis, who had started all of Memphis' previous four games, did not play. ... Memphis' Brian Cardinal did not travel to Phoenix due to personal reasons. ... Memphis fell to 4-19 all-time in Phoenix.
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