Phoenix 118, Sacramento 100

PHOENIX, March 22 (AP) -- One bad game was more than enough for Amare Stoudemire.

The Phoenix Suns' big man bounced back from one of his worst outings of the season to score 33 points and grab 21 rebounds and lead the Phoenix Suns to a 118-100 victory over a Sacramento team playing without Ron Artest on Thursday night.

It was the first time Stoudemire had topped 30 points and 20 rebounds in a game in his career.

"Welcome to the 30-20 club buddy,'' said teammate Shawn Marion, the last Phoenix player the achieve the feat with 31 points and 24 rebounds a year ago.

They are the only Suns to do it since 1995.

Steve Nash had 17 points and 16 assists to help Phoenix hand the Kings their eighth loss in nine games.

With Artest absent, Phoenix dominated the game inside with a 58-33 rebound advantage that offset the Suns' 5-for-22 3-point shooting. Phoenix was 1-for-16 on 3s until Jalen Rose made three of them in the fourth quarter.

Stoudemire's string of double-digit scoring games ended at 55 with his four-point, two-rebound performance against Minnesota on Wednesday night. He started a new streak with his 11th 30-point game of the season.

"I couldn't believe I had four points and two rebounds the game before,'' Stoudemire said. "It was tough for me to realize what it was. I wanted to come out tonight and set a tone and get better before the playoffs.''

He was 12-for-17 from the field and 9-of-16 from the foul line.

"He was just real active,'' Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You know, some games teams play us different ways. We don't know how they're going to play and we really don't care. If they're going to collapse on Amare, we're going to shoot 3s. If they're going to kind of stay out, we'll go to Amare. If they put little guys on him, we'll go inside.''

Boris Diaw added 15 points and tied a career high with 14 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa - starting in place of Diaw for the second game in a row - scored 17 for Phoenix.

Mike Bibby scored 28 and Kevin Martin 19 for Sacramento, playing for the second night in a row and also missing Kenny Thomas and Brad Miller because of injuries.

"We maybe ran out of a little bit of gas on the second night of back-to-back with only a rotation of eight guys,'' Kings coach Eric Musselman said. "It's a tired locker room. You walk in there and guys laid it on the line and played significant amount of minutes.''

Artest was in court Thursday on misdemeanor charges, including battery and corporal injury to a spouse, stemming from an incident with his wife. He had planned to catch a flight to Phoenix after the hearing, but the plane was diverted to Ontario, Calif., because of thunderstorms. After still more delays in California, Artest returned to Sacramento on the advice of Kings president Geoff Petrie.

The team found out shortly before the game that they wouldn't have Artest.

"We've got to deal with what we have,'' Bibby said. "We played with the guys we had. Regardless of who's out there, we still have to play the game. Everything moves on. We played good. They just had a slight run in the third quarter, and that's what killed us.''

Diaw's three-point play punctuated a 14-3 run that put the Suns ahead 78-62 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. Stoudemire's fastbreak three-point play after a Sacramento turnover put Phoenix up 89-71 with 33.2 seconds remaining in the quarter. The Suns led 89-73 entering the fourth.

Sacramento got no closer than 12 in the final quarter.

Phoenix was 1-for-14 on 3-pointers and committed 10 turnovers in the first half and still led 57-52 at the break, thanks largely to a 36-15 rebounding advantage.

Sacramento used an 11-3 run to take a 38-32 lead on Martin's 18-footer 7:26 before halftime. Diaw scored four and Stoudemire three in a 7-1 spurt that tied it at 39 5:43 before the break.

Notes: The Suns had a 64-38 advantage in points in the paint. ... The Suns can sweep the season series 4-0 when the teams play again Sunday in Sacramento. ... Phoenix is 28-5 against teams with a losing record. Three of the losses came without Nash. ... The Kings are 3+ games behind the Los Angeles Clippers - with three teams between them - in the fight for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Sacramento has made the postseason eight years in a row.

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