Stoudemire erupts in 3rd as Suns handle Grizzlies

BY foxsports • November 26, 2009

After struggling against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, Amare Stoudemire vowed to make amends.

He certainly has kept up his end of the bargain.

Stoudemire scored 18 of his 28 points during a torrid third quarter and the Phoenix Suns beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-111 Wednesday night for their 15th consecutive home victory.

"Amare was awesome," Suns co-captain Steve Nash said. "He had a great game. They (the Grizzlies) wanted to stop our penetration and they wanted to get to Amare. They did neither."

In the third quarter, the Suns hit their first 12 field-goal attempts and finished the quarter 17 for 20.

The Suns are 12-3, the best record in the NBA. They are the only team in the league to score at least 100 points in every game this season. They also have scored at least 100 points in 32 consecutive home games. Their 126 points against Memphis were a season high - home or away.

In recording his fifth straight 20-point game, Stoudemire hit 13 of 18 field-goal attempts, including all eight in the third quarter when the Suns broke open the game, taking a 98-77 lead at the end of the quarter. In the five games since the Lakers' debacle, Stoudemire is 39 for 59, a .661 percentage.

"I've been working hard to get my feel back," said Stoudemire, who is working his way back after eye surgery in February. "The coach is showing confidence in going to me.

"We did a great job of exploiting their defense. I was taking what the defense was giving me."

Teammate Grant Hill also had high praise for Stoudemire.

"Amare was phenomenal in the third quarter," Hill said. "I told him that was one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. He has made great strides, offensively and defensively."

Jason Richardson added 20 points for the Suns, Leandro Barbosa scored 15, Channing Frye had 14, Hill made all six of his field-goal attempts and had 12 points, and Nash had 11 points and 16 assists.

Overall, the Suns shot a season-high 61.9 percent from the field (52 for 84). After going 17 of 36 (.472) during the first 18 minutes, they shot 73 percent (35 of 48) from the field the rest of the game.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 24 points and 13 rebounds, including a franchise-record 10 off the offensive glass. Rudy Gay scored 16, Sam Young 14, Marc Gasol 13 and Jamaal Tinsley 12.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was disappointed in his team's performance, its seventh straight loss to the Suns.

"I told them (his players) that this is what professional basketball is like," Hollins said. "You have to keep digging and digging and make the other team keep working. You can't ever think the game is over. As long as it's inside 20 points, you have a chance."

The first half was close - there were eight lead changes and nine ties - until the final 3 1/2 minutes when the Suns outscored Memphis 13-2 and built a 60-49 halftime lead. The Grizzlies, who had begun the game with some accurate shooting, failed to hit a field goal in the final 4:15 of the first half.

Richardson led all scorers with 15 points, connecting on three of four 3-pointers, and adding a vicious dunk and an alley-oop basket.

At the outset, the Grizzlies' big front line of Gay, Randolph and Gasol punished the Suns under the boards, helping Memphis gain a 16-8 rebounding advantage in the first period, which ended 27-27 following a late Phoenix run of 11-4. By halftime, the Grizzlies' three frontcourt players had accounted for 32 points - 12 each by Gay and Randolph and eight by Gasol - and 17 rebounds - six each by Gay and Gasol, five by Randolph.


This was the first game of a five-game road trip for Memphis, with games following at Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah and Minnesota. ... Phoenix will embark on a four-game road swing, with stops at Minnesota, Toronto, New York and Cleveland. ... Center Robin Lopez, who has missed all of Phoenix's 15 games this season because of a broken bone in his left foot, is expected to play Friday, according to coach Alvin Gentry. ... After finishing last in the NBA in rebounding last season, the Grizzlies lead the league in offensive rebounding this season. ... Former Arizona coach Lute Olson was among the spectators.

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