Stoudemire scores 34, grabs 11 boards as Suns rally from 20-point hole

PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni was almost ready to give up on his team after one quarter of Thursday night's "throwback" game against the Seattle SuperSonics.

"I guess the big thing is between the orange headbands, the black-and-white on TV and how we played, I thought they just might cancel the game, say, 'this is enough," D'Antoni said after the Suns rallied from a 20-point first-period deficit and beat the Sonics 104-96.

Instead of giving up, the Suns scored 91 points in the final three quarters after a dismal first period.

"We set basketball back enough the first 10 minutes," D'Antoni said. "It was not pretty. But from then on, I thought our defense and energy ... was great."

Amare Stoudemire sparked the Suns to their fourth straight victory, scoring 34 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the floor and grabbing 11 rebounds.

"We all know that one quarter isn't the game," Stoudemire said. "We are one of the best at scoring, so we knew we could get back in it."

The win was the Suns' 23rd of the season, the most in the Western Conference.

Steve Nash added 17 points and 10 assists for the Suns, Leandro Barbosa scored 16, and Shawn Marion had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

"You can't get 20 points back all at once," Marion said. "But you can nip and take it from there. Once you get it controllable ... it was a new game."

Rookie Kevin Durant led Seattle with 28 points, Earl Watson had a season-high 20, and former Suns' center Kurt Thomas and rookie Jeff Green each scored 14.

In the Suns' previous three victories, Stoudemire averaged 29.7 points and 14 rebounds.

He was dominant again against the Sonics, scoring 14 points in the fourth period to help the Suns ward off a late Seattle rally.

Seattle, which trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter, drew within four, 98-94, with just over a minute left. But Raja Bell then hit two free throws and Stoudemire scored on a drive after a basket by Seattle's Wally Szczerbiak. Stoudemire capped his big game with a steal in the final seconds.

Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo bemoaned his team's lack of consistency.

"We cooperated a bit too much," he said. "We fouled them too much. We could have won this game. Amare hurt us."

Carlesimo also was concerned about the condition of Chris Wilcox, the Sonics' second-leading scorer, who played only six minutes.

"He dislocated his finger on his hand," Carlesimo said. "They said right away he was done for the night."

The first half featured contrasting performances by each team in the two quarters.

Seattle, with the help of woeful shooting by the Suns (4-for-20), strong rebounding and poor ball movement by the Suns, bolted to a 33-13 first-period lead.

But the Suns found the shooting range in the second quarter, hitting 11-for-20, while the Sonics went 6-for-25, outrebounded Seattle 20-6, and cut the 20-point deficit to two at halftime, 45-43, outscoring Seattle 30-12. Three-pointers by Bell and Nash in the final 1:07 brought the Suns within a basket.

Phoenix continued to frustrate the Sonics at both ends of the court in the third period. The Suns took the lead for good 58-57 on a baby hook by Boris Diaw with 6:45 gone in the quarter and expanded their advantage to 72-63 by the end of the period.

The Suns are 20-0 when leading into the fourth quarter and 12-0 when Stoudemire has at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The victory was coach Mike D'Antoni's 200th with Phoenix since the 2004-05 season, when Nash joined the team.

This was retro night at US Airways Center, with the Suns celebrating their 40th anniversary. Fans, cheerleaders and the mascot wore '60s garb, but the players rejected wearing the old team uniforms.

The only departure from the norm was that nearly all the players wore orange headbands during warmups before discarding them when the game began.

Meanwhile, music videos from that era were played during timeouts and the 40th anniversary Suns team -- as voted by the fans -- was introduced along with players from the original 1968-69 team.

Game notes
The Suns won their first game in franchise history over Seattle, 116-107, on Oct. 28, 1968. ... Stoudemire has scored at least 15 points in 20 straight games. ... Entering the game, the Sonics led the league in rebounding average, 45.1 per game. ... The Suns' 13 points in the first quarter tied their season low for a period and their zero assists tied a franchise record, last done against Detroit on March 21, 1986. ... After playing 19 of its first 31 games on the road, Phoenix plays 17 of its next 25 at home. ... Grant Hill started his 32nd consecutive game for the Suns, the most since the 1999-00 season with Detroit and his longest streak played since then.