NBA Game Summary - Houston at Phoenix
(Saturday, March 22nd)
Final Score: Phoenix 122, Houston 113
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire scored 38 points and set a franchise-record by making all 20 of his free throws in Phoenix's 122-113 win over the Houston Rockets.
Stoudemire also pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked four shots for the Suns, who have won seven straight games to move within a game of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Paul Silas held the old record of 17 consecutive free throws made in a game for the Suns on January 10, 1971 at Atlanta. Stoudemire canned his 18th on the night though with 5:35 left in the game, giving Phoenix a 109-99 lead.
"To be honest with you, nothing he does really surprises me anymore," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said of Stoudemire. "He's done every obstacle - you say 'oh, he can't do that,' and he does it. He just keeps getting better and working and he was awesome tonight."
Shaquille O'Neal tallied 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Leandro Barbosa scored 21 for the Suns, who beat the Rockets for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings.
"It's a smart group of guys that I'm playing with so I knew at some point that we were going to get to this level," O'Neal said. "Now we just have to bottle this formula and just go with it."
Tracy McGrady had 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Rockets, who trail New Orleans by a game for first place in the Southwest Division. Luis Scola had 16 points, Rafer Alston 15 and Shane Battier 14 in defeat, while Bobby Jackson ended with 13 points.
Houston has lost three of its last four games since having a 22-game victory streak, the second-longest in NBA history, broken Tuesday.
The Suns, who had just seven players in the game, shot 56.5 percent from the field.
"We were making it too easy for them," McGrady said. "Shaq was getting very deep in his post ups and our perimeter guys, we were making it that much easier because we weren't pressuring the ball."
Barbosa's three-ball capped 10 straight Suns points for a 12-3 lead, and Phoenix remained ahead the rest of the night. Boris Diaw's three-point play moved the margin to 31-16, and it was 38-21 going into the second quarter.
The Suns were in control by a 74-57 spread at the half by shooting an incredible 75.8 percent over the first 24 minutes.
The Rockets battled back and closed within 93-85 with 1:37 left in the third on a McGrady jumper. O'Neal came right back with a bank shot to end the quarter.
Phoenix then opened the fourth on a 10-2 run to effectively seal the victory, as Houston couldn't get closer than eight the rest of the way.
The Suns are 8-0 when Barbosa starts...Steve Nash had 15 points, Diaw 13 and Gordan Giricek 10 for the Suns, who missed just two of their 40 foul shots.
03/23 02:20:15 ET