Suns 133, Warriors 131

BY foxsports • March 23, 2010

After a slow start, Amare Stoudemire came through when the Phoenix Suns needed him most.

Stoudemire's thunderous dunk and three-point play with 2:33 left tied the game and kicked off a personal seven-point run that helped the Suns beat the Golden State Warriors 133-131 on Monday night.

``It was definitely a momentum shift,'' Stoudemire said. ``I think we were down a couple points. After that dunk, it was a three-point play, that kind of turned the momentum around.''

Stoudemire scored 37 points and Jason Richardson had a season high-tying 34 in the Suns' fifth straight victory.

Reggie Williams, an NBA Development League product who was signed for the remainder of the season on Monday, scored a career-high 29 points for Golden State. Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 30, and Anthony Tolliver, another ex-Development League player, added 25 points and 12 rebounds.

The Suns remained in fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race, one game behind Utah, thanks in large part to Stoudemire.

Stoudemire averaged 30.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in his previous 10 games. He had six double-doubles during that span, which included a 44-point night against Utah and a 41-point game against San Antonio.

``He's been great,'' Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. ``We try to take advantage of situations where they try to put undersized guys on him. He's come through for us big time. He's played great.The last month and a half, I think he's been the best player in the NBA.''

Back-to-back 3-point shots by Williams put the Warriors ahead 122-119, but Stoudemire tied it at 122 with his powerful slam over Tolliver.

``There's been a lot of great dunks in my career, and I think that was one of the better ones,'' Stoudemire said.

Stoudemire put the Suns ahead 124-122 with an inside basket, and after the Warriors' Stephen Curry missed, Stoudemire scored again on a fadeaway from the left baseline for a four-point lead with 1:30 left.

The Warriors closed the gap to 132-131 with 4.3 seconds left when Ellis made a pair of free throws - he tried to miss the second but it banked in high off the glass. Stoudemire made one with 3.5 seconds left and Ellis' desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer banked hard off the glass.

``I wish we could've gotten the win but we didn't,'' Williams said. ``The Suns' head coach talked to me and to be recognized helps me with my confidence and lets me know I'm getting my foot in the door and kind of making an impact.''

The Suns opened the door for a Warriors win down the stretch when Grant Hill missed four free throws and Steve Nash missed twice.

``I was like, 'This is not happening,''' said Richardson, a former Warrior. ``We buckled down on the defensive end and got the win.''

The Suns entered the game as the NBA's highest-scoring team, averaging 109.8 points. They ranked No. 1 in 3-point field goal percentage (40.4) and second in overall field goal percent (48.9).

The Warriors, meanwhile, ranked second in scoring (108.1), third in 3-point field goal percentage (37.4) and ninth in overall field goal percentage (47.0).

True to their high-octane ways, the Suns and Warriors combined to score 127 points in the first half, with Phoenix taking a 65-62 lead. Richardson led the Suns with 20 first-half points.

The Suns shot 57.9 percent from the field and 63.6 from 3-point range in the first half, but the Warriors stayed close despite making just 3-of-11 3-point shots in the half.

``Quite a game, quite an effort,'' Warriors coach Don Nelson said. ``If we just keep playing hard, we're going to win some games here, if we keep doing what we did tonight.''

Ellis, the sixth-leading scorer in the league entering the game with 25.7 points per game, didn't make a field until just 4:43 remained in the first half. He finished with 12 points in the first half, then made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Phoenix's lead to 99-98 after three quarters.

The Warriors have lost three straight and nine of 11. The reeling team announced earlier in the day that it was for sale and had hired Galatioto Sports Partners, or GSP, to handle selling the franchise and serve as their exclusive financial adviser throughout the process.Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison has already made it well known he wants to buy the team.

Richardson got off to a sizzling start, scoring 15 points in the first quarter on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. He made 3 for 4 from 3-point range as the Suns build a 33-31 lead despite rough starts by Steve Nash and Stoudemire.

NOTES: Suns center Robin Lopez, a former Stanford star, started his 30th consecutive game. In his first 29 starts, he averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds, and the Suns went 20-9. ... Phoenix won the season series 3-1. ... Tolliver had his eighth double-double of the season.

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