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Sacramento at Phoenix

Suns win fourth in row on strength of Stoudemire's 30-10

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns sure look like they've figured out that Shaquille O'Neal thing.

Amare Stoudemire had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Suns won their fourth in a row Saturday night with a 127-99 rout of the Sacramento Kings.

Gordan Giricek, like O'Neal a recent addition, scored 17 of his season-high 23 points in the first half for Phoenix. O'Neal added 17 points and eight boards, Steve Nash 18 points and eight assists, and Leandro Barbosa 17 points.

The Suns, who shot 61 percent, improved to 7-6 with O'Neal in the lineup with their second straight blowout victory. They used a 28-2 outburst to build a 31-point halftime lead and were up by 33 early in the third.

"It's beautiful. It's totally beautiful," Stoudemire said. "When you're playing great basketball and you're playing team basketball, there's no sport greater -- when you're just enjoying yourself and everybody gets along."

Ron Artest scored 26 for Sacramento.

The Suns swept the season series 4-0 and beat the Kings for the ninth time in 10 tries.

"Recently we have made some strides to get better defensively," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "But I just thought tonight we ran into a team that got it going, and when the Suns get it going there is not a lot you can do about it."

Phoenix pulled into a tie with San Antonio for the No. 5 playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns have a game advantage on Utah, which holds the West's No. 4 spot as the leader of the Northwest Division. The Spurs and Jazz lost on Saturday.

Phoenix climbed within 1½ games of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Lakers.

"I've been on a lot of good teams," O'Neal said, "but this team actually has every piece from one to 12. It probably is the first team I've played on that has every piece one to 12."

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said he had "not wasted a second" thinking about those who had predicted the team wouldn't make the playoffs after it struggled in the first few games following the O'Neal trade.

"It feels good because you can see why we did everything and where we can go," he said. "We're not there. It's like last week -- we're not as good as we think we are and we're not as bad as we were. We're somewhere in between, but we have a chance to be really good."

Stoudemire was 10-for-15 shooting in his second 30-point, 10-rebound game in a row, the third time he's posted those statistics on consecutive nights this season. Nobody is a bigger Stoudemire booster than O'Neal.

"He's the best," O'Neal said. "He's 25. He's like four or five steps better than I was at the age of 25. It's my job as the elder statesman to just take him to the next level."

Giricek scored 10 in the surge, including a pair of 3s. Nash was on the bench for his usual first-half rest when the run began.

Phoenix outscored the Kings 42-14 in the second quarter, 38-8 over the final 9:38, to go up 79-48 at the break. The Suns shot 70.5 percent (31-of-44) in the first two quarters. It was the second-highest scoring half of the season for Phoenix, surpassed only by 80 in the first half against Sacramento on Nov. 21.

"It just seemed like when Mikki (Moore) and I came out of the game, the game got out of hand," Artest said. "It had a big effect, and they seemed to be playing with a sense of urgency."

O'Neal scored 10 in the first half, including a fast-break layup that had the crowd on its feet. He was fouled on the play.

"And I made the free throw," he emphasized.

Giricek was in his seventh game for the Suns, the third team he has played for this season. He started the season with Utah, then was traded to Philadelphia. The Suns signed him for the remainder of the season after he was waived by the 76ers on Feb. 29.

Notes

  • Phoenix's Grant Hill sat out the second half as a precaution to rest his sprained right wrist.
  • The Kings fell to 1-10 against the Pacific Division.
  • Phoenix was 4-1 on its last extensive homestand of the regular season.
  • The four-game streak is the Suns' longest since they won five straight from Nov. 30-Dec. 7.
Copyright 2015 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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The Kings can't handle Amare Stoudemire, so it's another season sweep for Phoenix.  (Getty Images)
The Kings can't handle Amare Stoudemire, so it's another season sweep for Phoenix. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Sacramento (29-36) 3414312099
Phoenix (44-22) «37422226127
SAC:R. Artest 26 Pts
SAC:R. Artest 9 Reb
SAC:B. Miller 2 Ast
PHO:A. Stoudemire 30 Pts
PHO:A. Stoudemire 10 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 8 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixSacramento

A. Stoudemire

R. Artest
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
301002692

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Sacramento
R. Artest, SF3310-222-592426
K. Martin, SG304-67-841216
B. Udrih, PG263-103-42219
B. Miller, C195-60-052310
M. Moore, PF195-91-251511
S. Hawes, C252-90-08154
F. Garcia, SF243-71-12118
J. Salmons, SF230-20-01220
Q. Douby, SG181-40-00222
S. Williams, PF144-103-470111
A. Johnson, PG90-12-20002
S. Abdur-Rahim, PFDid Not Play
L. Wright, CDid Not Play
K. Thomas, PFDid Not Play
Totals 37-8619-2643142699
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Phoenix
A. Stoudemire, C3110-1510-15100430
R. Bell, SG302-60-46325
S. Nash, PG297-91-128018
S. O'Neal, C266-65-1082217
G. Hill, SG122-50-02204
G. Giricek, SG339-141-155423
L. Barbosa, PG296-83-343317
B. Diaw, SF213-50-03416
B. Skinner, PF142-30-02024
D. Strawberry, SG70-40-22120
E. Piatkowski, SG51-20-01003
S. Marks, C50-20-01000
L. Johnson, PFDid Not Play
A. Tucker, SFDid Not Play
Totals 48-7920-36462820127
 60.8%55.6% 
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Ind 111 Final
Orl 122
SA 96 Final
Phi 103
LAC 109 Final
Wash 119
Utah 115 Final
NJ 117
Bos 99 Final
Mil 77
Min 96 Final
Port 107
Mem 107 Final
GS 110