Stoudemire scored 42 points, Quentin Richardson added 23 and the
Phoenix Suns won their fourth straight with a 128-119 victory over
Boston on Friday night.
"(Amare) just got it going early and they had no answer for
him," Phoenix forward Shawn Marion said. "He's a beast and it's
easy when you've got No. 13 (Steve Nash) feeding you the ball."
Phoenix got all of its scoring from six players. Joe Johnson and
Jim Jackson scored 17, Marion added 16 and Nash finished with 13
points and 15 assists.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 34 points and nine rebounds. Ricky
Davis scored 19 for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (20-23),
who had won five straight at home.
"We were extremely tentative in the first half, but came out
and competed and were much more aggressive in the second half,"
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Boston outscored the Suns 36-22 in the third quarter and cut a
26-point deficit to 118-109 with four minutes left, but Phoenix
responded with baskets from Nash and Stoudemire to push the lead to
13 with 3:10 remaining.
"It's easy when you've got a point guard who passes as well as
Steve does," Stoudemire said. "He makes everything a lot easier
and just gets the job done. I think Boston did a good job of
hanging in there. They gave it a last fight, but we just pulled it
The Suns connected on 13 of 25 3-pointers, with Richardson going
7-of-9 from long range.
Phoenix led 40-31 after the first quarter, when Stoudemire and
Richardson were nearly unstoppable. Stoudemire made seven of eight
shots from the field and scored 16 points, while Richardson hit
four of five 3-pointers and had 12 points.
The Suns extended their lead to 20 midway through the second
quarter on Stoudemire's layup and went into halftime with a 74-48
advantage, the largest of the game.
"They have good chemistry," Pierce said. "It's tough when
you've got a team that plays with great chemistry. They put their
guys on the floor and they understand their roles."
The Celtics placed forward Al Jefferson on the injured list
with a right ankle sprain and activated fellow rookie Justin Reed.
Jefferson, who is averaging seven points and 4.8 rebounds per game,
is expected to miss four to six weeks. ... Boston guard Tony Allen
was selected to play in the Rookie Challenge on Feb. 18. ... New
England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk attended the game. ...
The Suns shot 64 percent in the first quarter. ... Nash, who leads
the NBA in assists per game, had seven in the first quarter. ...
Stoudemire scored 50 points against Portland on Jan. 2.