NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at Phoenix
(Saturday, March 15th)
Final Score: Phoenix 127, Sacramento 99
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire posted a game-high 30 points with 10 rebounds as Phoenix rolled over Sacramento, 127-99.
Gordan Giricek scored 23 points off the bench for the Suns, who have won four games in a row and moved within a game and a half of the idle Lakers for first place in the Pacific Division.
Steve Nash contributed 18 points and dished out eight assists, while Shaquille O'Neal was strong with 17 points and eight boards.
"You can see where we can go, we're not there," said Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni of his club, which improved to 7-6 since O'Neal's acquisition. "Every time you play with somebody new there's areas where they like the ball. It takes a while, especially when you put a big piece like Shaq in."
Ron Artest scored 26 points, pulled down nine rebounds and collected five steals for the Kings, whose two-game win streak came to a crashing halt. Kevin Martin added 16 points and Mikki Moore had 11.
Phoenix continued its recent run-and-gun ways, racing out to an eight point lead, 20-12, on a Nash three just before the midway point of the first quarter.
O'Neal's easy deuce in the lane with 1:01 left in the period put the Suns up 34-26, but the Kings closed out the quarter with an 8-3 run to go down by three after one.
The Suns effectively put the game away when they ripped off a 21-0 run late in the second quarter to go up 69-42. Giricek drained a three with 3:48 left before halftime and Shaq hit one-of-two from the line to cap the surge. Phoenix remained strong and went to the break ahead 79-48.
O'Neal's bank shot early in the third boosted the Suns to a 30-point advantage, 84-54, and the Suns began to relax. Leandro Barbosa hit a pair from the line late in the period to put the home team over the century mark, and they took a 22-point lead to the final quarter.
Barbosa's three with 6:42 to play re-established the Suns' 30-point advantage at 116-86, and Phoenix cruised to the final buzzer.
"We were still playing hard and still talking a little bit of trash out there," Artest admitted. "I am gonna live or die with my teammataes and with myself. One day somebody is going to breathe some life into this team and we are going to have our chance."
Phoenix has won seven of the last eight meetings...The Suns owned the second quarter, outscoring the Kings 42-14...Phoenix made 11-of-19 from beyond the arc with Nash hitting 3-of-4 himself...Sacramento did outhustle Phoenix on the offensive glass, 13-8...Barbosa scored 17 points, part of the Suns' 53-27 bench-scoring advantage..The Suns swept the season series for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
03/16 01:41:09 ET