Houston at Phoenix

Barbosa ties career high with 32 points, Suns burn Rockets

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- The "Brazilian blur" keeps making his case for the NBA's sixth man of the year award. He'll get no argument from the Houston Rockets.

Leandro Barbosa matched his career best with his second 32-point performance in three games and the Phoenix Suns improved to 10-1 since the All-Star break with a 103-82 rout of Houston on Monday night.

"I've never seen anybody as fast as this kid," the Rockets' Tracy McGrady said. "He's unbelievable. He's really Speedy Gonzalez out there. He's playing out of his mind right now."

Shawn Marion had 14 points, 15 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals for the Suns, who beat Houston for the sixth time in a row, third this season.

With Dallas losing at Golden State on Monday, Phoenix is 3½ games behind the Mavericks for best record in the NBA. The Suns, who completed a 5-0 homestand, play at Dallas on Wednesday night.

Phoenix had been winning ugly, but not in this one, taking control early, then turning the game into a blowout in the fourth quarter. Boris Diaw added 15 points for the Suns, who had six players in double figures.

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't around to see the end of his 200th NBA career victory. He drew two quick technicals from referee Ron Olesiak with 5:28 left in the third quarter for his first ejection in two seasons.

"We were friends at halftime," D'Antoni joked. "I don't know what happened. The relationship just went downhill in the second half. I just said a couple of things I shouldn't have said. He should have tossed me. It happens. We're all kids out there."

McGrady, defended by Marion most of the night, scored 19 on just 8-for-28 shooting.

"I was trying to be in his face as much as possible," Marion said, "contest every shot he got and try not to give him any easy baskets, and I did a good job of that."

Yao Ming, who scored 37 in a home victory over Orlando on Sunday, had his usual difficult night against the Suns' fast-paced style. The big center scored 10 points but made only 1 of 9 shots in 30 frustrating minutes.

In a two-minute, 37-second stretch of the fourth quarter, Yao had consecutive shots blocked by Kurt Thomas, was called for a three-second violation twice and was whistled for two offensive fouls. He dejectedly went to the bench for good with seven minutes to play.

"They made it very hard on Yao," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

The Suns, McGrady said, are not a team to play on the second night of consecutive games.

"It's tough, man, especially when you've got to play a team as fast as they are on a back-to-back," he said. "You've got to be fresh mentally and physically strong to face them."

Barbosa made 12-of-18 shots and missed his last two.

"I'm just having fun and trying to do the best I can every time, trying to make plays," he said. "I learned a lot of things from (Steve) Nash, and the coaches have a lot of confidence in me. I think that's a big key for me."

Juwan Howard made all seven of his shots and finished with 14 points for Houston.

The Suns were impressed with D'Antoni's emotional exit.

"He stomped out of there like a raging animal," Marion said.

Amare Stoudemire, who has 14 technicals this season, laughed when reminded that D'Antoni had talked to him about controlling himself on the court.

"Hey, sometimes it's the heat of the moment," Stoudemire said. "I'm pretty sure he understands my pain now. He was hot."

After D'Antoni's ejection, Yao made the two free throws to cut the lead to 64-58. On the Rockets' next possession, though, Marion blocked Yao's shot, leading to two free throws by Barbosa. Marion's subsequent dunk on a pass from Stoudemire boosted the lead to 68-58 with 2:41 1eft in the third quarter.

After the Rockets cut it to 63-67, Phoenix outscored Houston 7-3 to end the quarter. Barbosa's 3-pointer with 21.2 seconds left put the Suns ahead 74-66 entering the final period.

The Rockets never got any closer in the fourth quarter. Steve Nash's driving layup with 2:45 to play put Phoenix ahead 95-75.

Notes

  • Yao's lone field goal was a layup with two minutes to go in the half.
  • Before the game, the Suns' Jalen Rose presented Dikembe Mutombo with a $100,000 check for an operating room at the Houston center's Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center in the Congo.
  • The Suns have held the Rockets under 100 points in eight consecutive meetings.
  • Eight fouls were called in the first half, three against Houston.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Leandro Barbosa is the star for the Suns as he hits 12 of 18 shots to tie a career-best with 32 points.  (AP)
Leandro Barbosa is the star for the Suns as he hits 12 of 18 shots to tie a career-best with 32 points. (AP)

Scoreboard
Houston (39-25) 2022241682
Phoenix (49-14) «30222229103
HOU:T. McGrady 19 Pts
HOU:C. Hayes 10 Reb
HOU:T. McGrady 4 Ast
PHO:L. Barbosa 32 Pts
PHO:S. Marion 15 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 8 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixHouston

L. Barbosa

T. McGrady
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
32831974
Houston
T. McGrady, SG398-282-574019
R. Alston, PG373-140-02427
S. Battier, SF373-40-04317
C. Hayes, PF315-83-4100413
Y. Ming, C301-98-982210
L. Head, SG335-130-010112
J. Howard, PF257-70-030114
J. Lucas, PG60-00-01010
D. Mutombo, C30-00-00000
B. Sura, PGDid Not Play
B. Wells, SGDid Not Play
J. Tsakalidis, CDid Not Play
V. Spanoulis, PGDid Not Play
K. Snyder, SFDid Not Play
S. Novak, PFDid Not Play
Totals 32-8313-1836131282
 38.6%72.2% 
Phoenix
B. Diaw, SF377-121-222115
S. Marion, SF356-131-2152314
S. Nash, PG344-71-238010
A. Stoudemire, C306-150-062512
R. Bell, SG292-82-24027
L. Barbosa, PG3512-183-383032
K. Thomas, PF171-40-07122
J. Jones, SF165-70-050011
E. Piatkowski, SG60-20-00000
J. Rose, SGDid Not Play
S. Marks, PFDid Not Play
J. Jones, SFDid Not Play
P. Burke, CDid Not Play
M. Banks, PGDid Not Play
Totals 43-868-11501813103
 50.0%72.7% 
Other Games
Orl 108 Final
Char 119
NJ 113 Final
Mem 102
Tor 108 Final
Mil 93
Dal 100 Final
GS 117