Stoudemire, Suns continue home domination of NetsJan 21, 2008 - 5:10 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns continued their domination of the New Jersey Nets in the desert.
Amare Stoudemire scored 28 points and Raja Bell added 20 as the Suns cruised past the Nets, 116-92, on Sunday.
Shawn Marion chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds while tying a season high with five steals for Phoenix, which improved to 15-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season and won for the 14th straight time over New Jersey on its home floor.
"With a team that has played the night before and that is as talented as they are, you want to jump out to a quick start," Bell said. "Defensively, we were locked in, and that fueled our offense. You are not going to jump on them and hide, but we got enough of a lead, established that we were going to play at our pace."
Phoenix has not lost to New Jersey here since March 13, 1993, when Bill Clinton was president, gas was $1.01 a gallon and Stoudemire was in elementary school.
"We don't care about the streak," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Most of the guys weren't even born when it started. I like the fact that we have beaten them since I've been here, but that is about it."
Stoudemire shot 11-of-16 from the field - many coming on dunks - to go along with nine rebounds and three blocks.
"I was just being aggressive and taking what the defense gave me," Stoudemire said. "We base our team on energy and activity and being athletic out there. My teammates did a great job of spacing the court."
Phoenix wasted little time taking control against New Jersey, trailing only once at 2-0.
With the Suns already leading by five points, Brian Skinner and Steve Nash ignited a 10-2 run to open a 29-16 advantage. Skinner's dunk off a steal sparked the surge and Nash - a two-time Most Valuable Player - followed with a 3-pointer before Marion ended the spurt with a shot from the arc.
With the Suns leading, 35-20, after one quarter, Leandro Barbosa opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to give Phoenix an 18-point cushion - its biggest of the first half.
"I think the thing was, we didn't give ourselves a chance," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.
The Nets trailed by double digits for the majority of the contest, only once getting within nine at 65-56 with 7:39 left in the third period.
But Stoudemire answered by scoring six straight points, capping off the run with a spectacular one-handed dunk to push the lead to 71-56 with just over six minutes remaining.
"We had a hard time matching up in transition, so we had to play small the rest of the game," Frank said. "Basically, they went where they wanted to go. They got 17 offensive rebounds, shot 42 percent from (three-point range), took us off the dribble and we ran out of points."
Phoenix led by 16 after the third and New Jersey never got closer than 14 during the final quarter.
Nets guard Jason Kidd was held scoreless in the first half and finished the game with nine points and eight assists against his former team.
Richard Jefferson scored a team-high 24 points for the Nets, who have lost five in a row and six of seven following a season-high five-game winning streak.
"We didn't show up," Jefferson said. "I think it was a valuable lesson for our younger players who haven't played against Phoenix, for Josh (Boone) and Sean (Williams) to see how Amare runs and how you have to talk. You have to communicate, especially when you have a beast like Amare out there."
NEW JERSEY 92
PHOENIX 116 FINAL
Jan 20 10:17 PM
NEW JERSEY 73
PHOENIX 89 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 20 9:46 PM
NEW JERSEY 45
PHOENIX 56 HALFTIME
Jan 20 9:05 PM
NEW JERSEY 20
PHOENIX 35 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 20 8:37 PM
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