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Barbosa, Suns remain on offensive without Stoudemire

Feb 21, 2009 - 5:46 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Despite the loss of Amare Stoudemire, the Phoenix Suns' offense continues to sizzle.

Leandro Barbosa scored a career-high 41 points and Jason Richardson added 34 as the Suns posted a 140-118 victory over the feisty Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 22 and Matt Barnes chipped in 14 for the Suns, who have scored at least 140 points in the first three games under interim coach Alvin Gentry. They became the first club to score 140 points in three straight games since Portland did it from November 13-17, 1990.

"We got off to a good start," Gentry said. "We shot the ball well, ran and got easy baskets. We had 24 fast-break points so that tells me we were getting out running.

"I can promise you we are not going to get 140 points Sunday against Boston."

The Suns received bad news earlier in the day when it was announced that Stoudemire would likely miss the rest of the regular season with a partially detached retina in his right eye.

"It proves that if we really push the ball and make good decisions, we can score no matter who is in the lineup," Gentry said. "This is our team and this is who we have and this is what we are going to have to do. We feel sorry for Amare, we don't feel sorry for us."

They did not need him on this night as Phoenix roared out of the gates once again, making 15-of-21 shots in the first quarter en route to a 38-23 bulge.

The Suns continued their hot-shooting, using a 13-4 run to take a 70-44 lead with 2:54 left in the second quarter en route to a 79-57 lead at the break.

"We can't let them play offense and pick us apart," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to put more pressure on them and guard the ball. We didn't do any of those things tonight."

Richardson and Barbosa each scored 20 points in the first half for the Suns, who shot 64 percent (30-of-47) through the first two quarters.

"I love to play running up and down. I think everyone does," Barbosa said. "We have so many talented scorers on the team, I don't need to go to the basket all the time - so I am helping the big guys get rebounds and play defense."

However, Oklahoma City came out strong in the third quarter and used a 15-2 burst late in the frame to cut the deficit to 99-91 with 1:02 left before the fourth. Phoenix held a 103-93 lead after three.

The Thunder closed within six early in the fourth, but the Suns answered with a 17-6 run to take a 122-105 advantage with 4:26 remaining and put the game away. Barnes opened the burst with a 3-pointer and Richardson's outside shot capped it.

Barbosa scored the Suns' last seven points, finishing 16-of-21 from the floor to top his previous career high of 39 points.

"I didn't know what was happening on the court at the end of the game," Barbosa said. "We were winning the game but the coach kept telling me to go to the basket. Then I found out it was 41 points so I was very happy, but I was happier that we did it together and doing what we need to do."

Kevin Durant scored 35 points and rookie Russell Westbrook added 19 for Oklahoma City, which committed 23 turnovers.

"I thought we did a great job of bouncing back and playing better defense but early we dug ourselves a huge hole," Durant said. "They hit a lot of shots and got easy baskets."

  • 5
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Thunder 118, Suns 140  FinalFeb 21 12:32 AM

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