for this game

Stoudemire sits it out as Suns cruise in Rome

Oct 6, 2006 - 10:13 PM ROME (Ticker) -- Whether in the Valley of the Sun or the Eternal City, the Phoenix Suns still looked the same. There was plenty of running and gunning and no sign of Amare Stoudemire.

Still without their injured star center, the Suns jumped to an early lead and toyed with host Lottomatica Roma in a 100-93 preseason victory.

Shawn Marion scored 19 points and Leandro Barbosa and Raja Bell added 18 apiece for the Suns, who continue their segment of NBA Europe Live with a trip to Germany, where they will play the Philadelphia 76ers and a European team.

It is starting to look like Stoudemire will not be playing in those games. After missing most of last season due to microfracture surgery on his left knee, he made this trip but suffered a setback this week.

On Monday, Stoudemire left practice early with stiffness in his right knee. He was able to practice the next two days but again left practice Thursday with pain in both knees.

"The problem is we need him to practice every day and he just can't do that yet," said Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, who flashed his fluency in Italian when he met the media after the game. "I'm not going to play him until he shows a certain level."

The Suns did not need Stoudemire against Roma. Marion scored nine points in the first quarter as Phoenix bolted to a 27-17 lead.

With two-time defending MVP Steve Nash at the controls, the Suns extended the margin to 54-43 at halftime and 84-70 entering the final period. Nash had nine assists.

James Jones added 10 points for Phoenix, which made 11-of-31 3-pointers and 25-of-29 free throws.

David Hawkins scored 22 points and Dejan Bodiroga added 17 for Roma, which made just 5-of-17 from the arc and 18-of-29 from the line.

Hawkins played briefly for the Houston Rockets in the 2004-05 season. Bodiroga has been called the "Larry Bird of Europe" and was a member of the Yugoslavian team that won the 2002 World Championships.

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