He had good reason to be happy.
"Beautiful, just beautiful," Stoudemire said when asked how it felt to sit out the fourth period of the Suns' 127-111 victory against the short-handed Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. "I appreciate that. It allowed us (the starters) to get ready for the Clippers (Friday night)."
Stoudemire was not in foul trouble, but with Phoenix ahead 110-82 entering the fourth quarter, coach Mike D'Antoni let his little-used subs complete the Suns' seventh consecutive victory.
Shawn Marion and Steve Nash led a dazzling 47-point first quarter for the surging Suns. Marion, who finished with a season-high 25 points, scored 13 points in the opening period, while Nash, who wound up with 18 points and 15 assists, had 12 points and six assists as the Suns built a 47-38 lead and never relinquished it.
Both Marion and Nash hit their first five field-goal attempts. The Suns made 18 of their first 21 shots in their highest-scoring period of the season.
"We came out with a lot of energy and intensity," Stoudemire said. "We wanted to set the tone early."
That they did, setting an NBA season high for points in a quarter.
"The first quarter was unbelievable, just the way we shot and moved the ball," D'Antoni said.
Phoenix increased its advantage to as many as 20 points midway through the second quarter before settling for an 80-63 halftime bulge. By intermission, Nash already had a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists.
"That was crazy," Marion said of the 80 first-half points. "We were definitely clicking. Our first passes led to great shots."
The Suns continued to pour it on in the third quarter, twice building leads of 30 points. They reached the 100-point mark with 4:10 remaining in the period on a 23-foot jumper by Marion.
The Kings played without two starters. Forward Ron Artest, who scored 33 points in the Kings' 100-98 loss to the Suns on Tuesday night, made the trip to Phoenix but returned home to be with his ailing daughter. Guard Beno Udrih was sidelined with an injured right knee.
Also absent from the Kings' roster was star guard Mike Bibby. He underwent surgery on his left thumb in October and won't be back until at least late December.
"This was tough, to say the least," Kings first-year coach Reggie Theus said. "We played them tough last night, but without Beno and Ron, it made a big difference in the morale of the team."
Garcia agreed with his coach.
"Ron is a big part of our team ... we missed him tonight," he said.
"They were just making everything. They had a great shooting night ... they didn't miss. I don't care about the 31 points. It's about what the team did."
The Suns also were missing a starting guard, Raja Bell, out with back spasms.
This was the second time in Suns' history they swept a two-day, back-to-back, home-and-home series. The other time was Dec. 26-27, 1994, against the Dallas Mavericks. They also won a back-to-back, home-and-home series against Golden State in the 2001-02 season, but the games were two days apart.
|Brad Miller and Mikki Moore (right) can't stop Amare Stoudemire from this offensive rebound. (AP)|
|Phoenix (10-2) «||47||33||30||17||127|
|SAC:F. Garcia 31 Pts
SAC:J. Salmons 10 Reb
SAC:F. Garcia 5 Ast
|PHO:S. Marion 25 Pts
PHO:A. Stoudemire 6 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 15 Ast
|Players of the Game|
Phoenix Suns Team Folder
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|J. Salmons, SF||41||7-17||7-15||10||1||5||21|
|F. Garcia, SF||35||13-25||4-6||6||5||1||31|
|K. Martin, SG||31||5-16||7-7||4||3||2||19|
|M. Moore, PF||24||3-6||0-0||8||1||3||6|
|B. Miller, C||20||4-4||0-0||5||0||3||8|
|Q. Douby, SG||27||2-8||2-2||1||1||2||6|
|S. Hawes, C||20||5-10||2-2||6||0||1||12|
|K. Thomas, PF||16||1-3||0-0||4||1||1||2|
|J. Williams, PF||15||3-4||0-2||10||0||0||6|
|D. Watkins, C||10||0-2||0-0||1||0||2||0|
|S. Abdur-Rahim, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Bibby, PG||Did Not Play|
|R. Artest, SF||Did Not Play|
|B. Udrih, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|S. Marion, PF||29||9-16||5-6||3||0||0||25|
|L. Barbosa, PG||29||6-9||3-3||3||3||5||18|
|S. Nash, PG||27||7-10||1-1||4||15||1||18|
|G. Hill, SG||25||6-9||3-3||5||6||2||15|
|A. Stoudemire, C||19||5-11||3-3||6||0||4||13|
|M. Banks, PG||30||3-9||1-1||2||6||4||8|
|B. Diaw, SF||30||2-2||0-0||6||1||1||4|
|B. Skinner, PF||16||4-6||1-1||5||1||0||9|
|D. Strawberry, SG||12||2-8||1-1||1||0||2||5|
|A. Tucker, SF||12||4-10||1-2||1||0||1||10|
|S. Marks, C||9||1-2||0-0||2||1||3||2|
|E. Piatkowski, SG||Did Not Play|
|R. Bell, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|