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Toronto at Phoenix

Shaq busts out for 45 points as Suns crush Raptors

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Shaquille O'Neal feasted on the Toronto Raptors in a dominating performance that harkened to his best days alongside Kobe in Los Angeles.

A week shy of his 37th birthday, O'Neal scored 45 points Friday night -- his biggest offensive performance in six years -- powering the Phoenix Suns to a 133-113 victory.

"He's just so strong and pushes guys right under the basket and gets inside," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "We have no match for him."

He made 20 of 25 shots in the 49th 40-point game of his career and first in four seasons. He hadn't scored this many since he got 48 for the Lakers against Boston on March 21, 2003.

Afterward, O'Neal insisted he could do this every night if only he got the ball often enough.

"I think I'm the only player who looks at each and every center," he said, "and says to myself, 'That's barbecued chicken down there."'

Chris Bosh, one of the would-be defenders who turned into Shaq's big meal, said O'Neal got a big lift from the officials.

"He was just camping down in the lane," Bosh said. "I mean, if they're not calling three seconds -- I thought it was a rule, but I guess not."

Louis Amundson scored a career-high 20 as the Suns outscored the Raptors in the paint by a remarkable 90-36. Matt Barnes added 18. Grant Hill had 14 points and 12 assists, just two shy of his career high set 11 years ago for the Suns, who were without Steve Nash for the second straight game with a sprained right ankle.

Former Suns star Shawn Marion led Toronto with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani added 21 points and Bosh 19.

Toronto decided against double-teaming Shaq most of the night, and the results were disastrous for the Raptors in their 10th straight loss to Phoenix -- whether the defender was Bargnani, Bosh, or Jake Voskuhl, who fouled out in eight minutes.

"We thought we'd have an advantage there," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said.

O'Neal downplayed the caliber of defender, though, saying he could do the same thing whether against Yao Ming or Tim Duncan.

"If I can get the touches like that, it doesn't matter who is down there," O'Neal said. "They're going to have to double or triple me down there. If they don't, especially with the way I'm shooting free throws, they will have to pay."

O'Neal, who also had 11 rebounds, sealed the victory by scoring all of the Suns' points in a 10-2 run that gave Phoenix a 120-102 lead with five minutes to play. He left the game to a thunderous ovation with just under two minutes remaining.

The Suns took control with a 21-8 surge that started in the third and carried over to the fourth. Phoenix scored the last seven in the outburst, capped by Jason Richardson's 3-pointer that made it 106-95 with 9:53 to play.

Matt Barnes' dunk on a lob pass from Hill capped a 10-0 run that gave Phoenix a 66-54 with 1:46 left in the first half. But the Raptors scored the next 11 over the final 1:06 of the quarter. Jason Kapono's 3-pointer from the corner with 19.8 seconds left cut Phoenix's lead to 68-67 at the break.

There were 10 lead changes in the third quarter, with the Suns up 96-90 entering the fourth.

"We were right there, man. I don't know what happened," said Marion, who drew a big cheer when he was introduced before the game. "We just hit the tank or something, and everything just sort of went the other way. It's frustrating because I think the fight in us just went out the window."

Notes

  • Suns fan Rhett Brown of Seattle won $77,777 from a local casino by making an underhand, two-handed shot from half court during a timeout midway through the second quarter.
  • Phoenix is 3-5 without Nash this season.
  • Hill is the only Suns player to appear in every game this season.
  • The Suns are 5-2 since Alvin Gentry took over as coach.
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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Shaquille O'Neal hasn't scored this many points in six years, when he played for the Lakers. (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal hasn't scored this many points in six years, when he played for the Lakers. (AP)

Scoreboard
Toronto (23-37) 30372521113
Phoenix (33-25) «37312837133
TOR:S. Marion 27 Pts
TOR:S. Marion 11 Reb
TOR:J. Calderon 5 Ast
PHO:S. O'Neal 45 Pts
PHO:S. O'Neal 11 Reb
PHO:G. Hill 12 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixToronto

S. O'Neal

S. Marion
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
4511227112
Toronto
A. Parker, SG435-142-274014
S. Marion, PF4111-215-6112227
J. Calderon, PG353-64-425210
A. Bargnani, PF357-135-661621
C. Bosh, PF337-145-6103519
J. Kapono, SF226-131-211215
R. Ukic, SG151-63-42215
J. Voskuhl, C81-10-02062
M. Banks, PG50-00-01110
P. O'Bryant, C40-00-00020
K. Humphries, PFDid Not Play
J. Graham, SFDid Not Play
N. Jawai, PFDid Not Play
Totals 41-8825-30421927113
 46.6%83.3% 
Phoenix
G. Hill, SG366-92-2412214
S. O'Neal, C3520-255-8112445
J. Richardson, SG355-120-033011
L. Barbosa, PG344-143-334411
M. Barnes, SF327-153-366418
L. Amundson, PF269-112-2101220
J. Dudley, PF171-43-53115
G. Dragic, PG141-30-02252
A. Tucker, SF82-52-22027
R. Lopez, C20-00-00000
S. Nash, PGDid Not Play
A. Stoudemire, CDid Not Play
Totals 55-9820-25443124133
 56.1%80.0% 
Other Games
Det 93 Final
Orl 85
Chi 90 Final
Wash 113
Mia 83 Final
Atl 91
Ind 99 Final
Bos 104
Phi 108 Final
NY 103
Mil 94 Final
NO 95
Port 102 Final
Min 82
OKC 108 Final
Dal 110
LAL 79 Final
Den 90
Cle 97 Final
SA 86
LAC 86 Final
Sac 98
Char 112 Final
GS 109