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Stoudemire, Bell spark Suns past Grizzlies

Jan 16, 2007 - 5:05 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire and Raja Bell played close to perfect as the Phoenix Suns recorded a 10.

Stoudemire and Bell combined for 67 points and sparked the high-flying Suns to a 137-122 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies for their 10th straight win.

Stoudemire was 15-of-21 from the field, 12-of-13 from the line and scored a season-high 42 points. Bell hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 25.

"Forty-two (points) and nine (rebounds). That's not too bad," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "His stamina is what I liked. He's had games where he's been really good, but this was probably his best performance. Thirty-six minutes, and it didn't seem like he missed a beat. It's encouraging. It's very encouraging."

The Suns won a franchise-record 15 in a row earlier this season.

Phoenix (29-8) led 76-72 after a wild first half in which the teams combined to make 17 3-pointers. The Suns had 22 assists on 28 baskets.

Memphis (9-30), which was coming off its lowest scoring output of the season in an embarrassing 111-66 loss at Chicago on Saturday, did not have a problem scoring against Phoenix, just stopping them.

"I thought we competed today. I was not disappointed with our willingness to compete," Memphis interim coach Tony Barone said. "I don't know if we always understand the level we have to compete at. Against this team, it has to be the highest level."

The Grizzlies scored the first five points of the third quarter, taking a 77-76 lead on a three-point play by Eddie Jones, but were then outscored by a 34-19 count over the next 10 minutes as the Suns took control.

"Our defense needs to be - somehow - shored up. It isn't good enough to just think you can run," Barone said. "If you're going to play this style of basketball, you have to play defense. You have to get back and contest shooters."

Stoudemire had two free throws and a dunk to halt Memphis' run and Bell hit a 3-pointer as the quarter expired to give Phoenix a 110-96 lead. Memphis never made a run in the final quarter.

"We were in great condition down the stretch. Our wind was steady picking up, and it seemed like we caught our second wind in the third and fourth quarter," Stoudemire said. "We wanted to keep running and get the tempo up. We want to outrun guys, and that's what we did."

Steve Nash had 12 points and 15 assists for Phoenix, which has won 26 of its last 28 games.

Mike Miller scored 28 points and Pau Gasol added 23 but only six in the second half for the Grizzlies, who are just 7-13 at home.

"James Jones and Shawn Marion both were very active doubling Pau Gasol in the third quarter," D'Antoni said. "They shot the ball well, but they had a lot of turnovers in that period, and that was mainly because those two guys were so active. They were all over the place."

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