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Stoudemire leads Suns past Grizzlies

Apr 4, 2007 - 6:56 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns continued to have their way with the lowly Memphis Grizzlies.

Stoudemire scored 27 points and Leandro Barbosa added 24 as the Suns beat the Grizzlies, 116-111, sweeping the season series.

Shawn Marion had 17 points and 12 rebounds and current two-time MVP Steve Nash added 15 points and 17 assists for Phoenix (56-18), which remained three games ahead of San Antonio (53-21) in the race for the second seed and home-court advantage in a possible conference semifinals matchup.

Stoudemire, who shot 12-of-19 from the field, has averaged 30.2 points vs. the NBA celler dwellers in four contests in 2006-07.

Trailing 36-31 after one period, the Suns outscored the Grizzlies, 40-23, in the second period to take a 71-59 halftime lead. Barbosa had 18 points in the quarter and Marion added 14 as Phoenix shot 68 percent (19-of-28) in the period.

"I was feeling great, Barbosa said. "I had a couple open shots, and Stevie (Nash) found me with some passes."

Trailing, 89-88, entering the fourth quarter, Stoudemire tallied 11 points and Nash added eight as the Suns pulled away.

"I couldn't wait to get back on the floor in the fourth quarter," Stoudemire said. "I came ready to play tonight. I was able to get back into it and get us back ahead."

"It was important to come out in the fourth and set the tone," Nash said. "We let them back in it, and it was good to come back out and get some momentum our way."

The Suns shot 51 percent (44-of-86) and made 13-of-26 from 3-point range.

"We knew they were going to come out and play us hard, and it took everything to beat them," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Pau Gasol scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Hakim Warrick added 23 and a career-high 16 boards for Memphis, which shot 48 percent (39-of-81).

"We didn't give up, no matter what," Warrick said. "We did a good job on people. We got burned a couple times, but did pretty well. We just showed that never give up attitude."

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