ATLANTA (AP) -- If Amare Stoudemire has his way, the Phoenix Suns
won't rest now that they've become the ninth NBA team to win 50
games following a 50-loss season.
"We've got seven more road games," Stoudemire said. "And
we're going to try to close it out and get homecourt advantage."
Stoudemire had 40 points and 13 rebounds to help the Suns beat
the Atlanta Hawks 105-94 Tuesday night.
With Stoudemire controlling the lane and Steve Nash handing out
11 assists, the Suns improved the league's best road record to 27-7
with an eighth straight victory outside Phoenix. They have won
three of four overall.
"I was attacking the whole night," said Stoudemire. "I wanted
to be aggressive and carry the team on my back."
Shawn Marion had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who can
tie the franchise record Wednesday night in Charlotte for
consecutive road wins, a mark set in 1997-98 and matched the next
The Suns are now 5-0 when getting 40 points from Stoudemire, who
stole a pass on the Atlanta end and fed Quentin Richardson for a
dunk that ended the scoring.
The Hawks, who were led by Al Harrington's 16 points, fell to an
NBA-worst 8-25 at home. Rookie forward Josh Smith, who had 12
rebounds, tied the score at 88-88 with a putback, but his team
never had the lead after Tony Delk's three-point play with 1:43
remaining in the third quarter.
Atlanta has lost six straight and 19 of 20. The Hawks allowed
Phoenix to score 25 points off 19 turnovers.
"It was no explosion for them," Smith said of the Suns. "It
wasn't an easy 50th win for them. We were no pushovers."
During the early minutes of the second quarter, Nash lay on his
back near the Phoenix bench, but team spokeswoman Julie Fie said
she was unaware of any problems he might have.
Nash, who missed three games late last month with a sore
hamstring, appeared fine when he returned at the 9:08 mark, scoring
six points and handing out four assists before halftime.
"We're right there offensively," Nash said. "Defensively,
we're starting to show signs that we can be good. It's just the
defense. We've got to keep improving little by little going into
the playoffs. If we're a solid defensive team like we were earlier
in the year, we've got a great chance."
Marion gave the Suns their first double-digit lead with a
3-pointer at the 9:44 mark of the third quarter to make it 59-48.
Joe Johnson followed with a 10-footer 28 seconds later for the
game's biggest lead.
Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni worried his team would let the
struggling Hawks stay close enough to win.
"They read the papers like we do," D'Antoni said of his
players ."You can't really fool them but you try to."
After flying to Atlanta following a 97-91 victory Sunday
afternoon in Memphis, D'Antoni thought the Suns were well-rested,
but he knows the long NBA season can grind down players.
"It's human nature," D'Antoni said. "Because you can't help
it, over 60-some games, your concentration wanes. You can talk
about it but they know in their mind that they're going to win the
game. Somehow, they're going to win it. You try to prod them and
Stoudemire's last 40-point game was March 9 in a 107-101
victory over San Antonio. ... The Suns have won two straight in
Atlanta and four of the last five. ... Phoenix matched the team
record for road victories in a season, set in 1992-93 and tied two
years later. ... Marion's double-double was his 41st this season.
Nash, who had 13 points to go with his assists, now has 40. ... The
Suns improved to 19-6 when Stoudemire scores 30 points.