<
>

Stoudamire's sharp shooting lifts Grizzlies over Suns

PHOENIX (AP) -- Damon Stoudamire finally found his outside
shooting touch, and the Memphis Grizzlies are off to their best
start in franchise history.

Stoudamire scored 12 of his 26 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the
fourth quarter and the Grizzlies won their third in a row, 115-103
over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, to improve to 6-3.

Mike Miller, questionable before the game because of a bruised
right knee, added 24 for the Grizzlies, who were swept by Phoenix
in the first round of last season's playoffs. That team, of course,
had Amare Stoudemire, who is out until at least mid-February
following knee surgery.

In his absence, the Suns were outplayed at their own,
run-and-shoot game by a Memphis team that averaged under 90 points
a game through the first eight contests.

"We let them have the opportunities just because I don't think
we played hard enough tonight," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said,
"and that's hard to say because that's the first time in about 80
or 90 games that I've thought that way."

Stoudamire, shooting just 30 percent coming into the game and
4-for-17 on 3-pointers, was 11-for-19 overall. He made two of three
3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

"It's good to see Damon's stroke coming back," Memphis coach
Mike Fratello said. "If we get him shooting the ball obviously
it's a very, very key thing for us."

The Grizzlies, getting open shots all night as the Suns
double-teamed Pau Gasol, took the lead for good in the second
quarter and were up by as many as 18 in the fourth.

"I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned about
my rhythm the first six, seven games, but I knew it would come,"
Stoudamire said. "Tonight was a good start for me and I'll just
try to build on this game."

Miller, injured in the fourth quarter of Memphis' victory over
the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, scored 16 in the first half
and finished 9-for-14 shooting, mostly from outside.

"It was a little sore but it's part of it," Miller said. "I
went out there and played and got it warm. I didn't come out of the
game much so it stayed warm."

Shane Battier added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Bobby Jackson
16 points for Memphis.

Phoenix fell to 1-4 at home, 1-3 on its five-game home stand.

Shawn Marion had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Steve Nash 17
points and 13 assists for Phoenix. Leandro Barbosa added 17 points
and James Jones 14.

Eddie Jones' 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter put Memphis
up 88-70.

Phoenix cut it to 107-98 on Marion's stuff with 3:21 to go. But
Gasol, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, sank a 16-footer, then
after Nash missed, Stoudamire made a pair of 3s to put Memphis
comfortably up 115-98.

"At the end I thought we were going to make a run at it but
Damon hit some tough shots," Marion said. "I switched on him a
couple of times and I was making him shoot over me. He was shooting
it up high, man. A couple of them I did touch and they still went
in."

The Suns' backups built a 42-35 lead on Eddie House's
three-point play with 8:52 left in the first half. But when Nash
and Marion came back, the Grizzlies went on a 23-6 tear to go up
58-48 when Jackson sank his third 3-pointer 1:50 before the break.

Three-pointers by Nash and Barbosa cut the lead to 58-54 at the
half.

Eddie Jones, who barely played in the first half because of foul
trouble, sank consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a 16-4 Grizzlies'
run to start the second half. Stoudamire scored the last five, his
20-footer putting Memphis up 74-58 with 7:48 to play in the third
quarter.

The Grizzlies led 86-70 entering the fourth.

Game notes
Marion is the only NBA player with a double-double in every
game this season. ... Marion made his first 3-pointer of the season
after going 0-for-10 in the first six games but he finished the
game 1-for-5 on 3s. ... Eddie Jones played just four minutes in the
first half because of foul trouble and didn't take a shot. ...
Memphis won at Phoenix only for the fourth time in 21
regular-season games. ... The Suns' Jim Jackson played for the
first time in three games. ... Memphis made 10-of-24, Phoenix
12-of-30.