for this game

Stoudemire helps Suns survive late charge by Kings

Nov 21, 2007 - 7:40 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns may have not been at full strength, but having Amare Stoudemire does help.

Stoudemire scored six of his 26 points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter as the Suns held off a late charge by the Sacramento Kings for a 100-98 victory on Tuesday night.

Leandro Barbosa scored 22 points and Grant Hill added 19 and Steve Nash had 14 and 12 assists for the Suns, who extended their winning streak to six games.

With the game tied at 94-94 in the fourth, Stoudemire made a pair of free throws, nailed a turnaround jumper off the glass right before the shot clock sounded and sank two more free throws.

But John Salmons and Ron Artest scored on back-to-back layups as the Kings pulled within 100-98 with 44 seconds remaining.

"We should have put them away earlier," Stoudemire said. "They were doing a great job of switching. We were able to get it inside and I was able to hit my foul shots. That was the difference in the game."

Stoudemire had a chance to create a four-point edge, but misfired on a pair of free throws with 28 seconds to go. However, the Kings failed to capitalize as Artest missed a 14-footer 20 seconds later.

After Barbosa mishandled an easy pass from Nash, the Kings had one last chance to either tie or take the lead. But the 6-11 Stoudemire blocked Salmons' 3-pointer to seal the win.

"It was a good play," Hill said. "Considering that they didn't have a timeout they were able to execute something and at least get a look, but Amare made a great play."

"(Sacramento) did a good job coming back from 19 (down)," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We made some mental errors and and they played really well. We started to get bogged down."

Artest's season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds led the charge for Sacramento.

"Phoenix played good," Artest said. "They had us down but we had a chance to comeback. We have a chance to get it back (Wednesday)."

Brian Skinner scored the final five points of the first half, including an unlikely 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Suns a 55-47 lead at intermission.

The Suns extended the lead to 19 before Sacramento closed out the quarter on a 7-0 run to enter the fourth quarter trailing 86-74.

The Suns were without guard Raja Bell, who tweaked his right ankle in pregame warm-ups. His status remains uncertain.

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