109 - 103 Final
  for this game

Stoudemire propels Suns past Clippers

Jan 12, 2009 - 12:35 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Amare Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns continued the Los Angeles Clippers' misery Sunday, handing them their 11th consecutive loss, 109-103.

Stoudemire led all five Suns starters in double figures with 26 points and Steve Nash and Shaquille O'Neal added double-doubles in Phoenix's fifth win in six games.

"We had them up a decent amount in the first quarter, went up 12 again, but they kept fighting back," Stoudemire said. "They played well tonight."

Nash had 14 points and 12 assists and O'Neal added 15 and 10 rebounds. The big man also was 5-of-5 from the free-throw line, the second straight game in which O'Neal was perfect from the charity stripe.

"It's all about opportunities," O'Neal said. "If I can get 10-12 shots a game, I can probably end my career with those (all-time great) numbers. When it's said and done I'll probably be four in scoring, No. 3 in blocks and part of one of the greatest 1-2 punches in the game, and that's all that matters to me."

Jason Richardson and Grant Hill scored 21 points apiece as it appeared Phoenix would cruise to the win after scoring the first 12 points of the game. Los Angeles rallied with a 14-2 run to tie it in the first, but the Suns rarely trailed over the first three quarters and entered the fourth with an 86-73 lead.

The Clippers went on a 6-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter and a slam dunk by Al Thornton at 8:40 got them to within three points, 89-86.

Steve Novak tied the game on the next possession with a 3-pointer and Los Angeles took the lead at 7:14, when Fred Jones made 1-of-2 free throws. A jumper by Thornton extended the lead to three, but Hill sparked a 14-2 run with a 3-pointer to tie it at 98-98 as the Suns took control from there.

"I was disappointed in some stretches in the game where we really had a chance to extend the lead," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "We had a lot of loose possessions offensively, guys took some quick shots that were not warranted."

Marcus Camby scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half. He and Thornton kept the Clippers close. Thornton finished with 23 points.

A free throw by Eric Gordon and a jumper by Brian Skinner actually gave the Clippers their only lead of the half, 45-42, before Phoenix grabbed a six-point halftime advantage.

The game got a little chippy in the third quarter, starting with a flagrant foul by Hill on Thornton. Several Clippers complained to the officials about contact that was not called, including coach Mike Dunleavy.

"We got called for eight charges. I didn't agree with all of them, obviously, getting tossed, but most of them were right," Dunleavy said. "We have to do a better job of reading those situations."

Dunleavy was especially upset at a non-call on Gordon, when the rookie went up for a layup and made contact with two Phoenix players, but no foul was called. The veteran coach received two quick technicals and was ejected with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The ejection seemed to re-energize the Clippers, who pulled to within three points, although Phoenix built back up a 13-point lead by the end of the third quarter.

"It has been really tough," Thornton said. "At the end of the day we just need to get our guys back. It seems like there has been a curse every game."